Gabriella Coppola had had quite an encore to her stellar career on the Watertown High School girls basketball team. Now a senior at Endicott College, she has steadily climbed up the list of assist leaders at the Beverly-based college and in all of NCAA Div. III.
Coppola, who plays guard for the Gulls, has 15 assists through five games during the 2017-18 season, putting her at 275 for her college career. This is fourth best all-time at Endicott and 30th highest among active D3 players.
She will likely be moving up the Endicott career assist leaderboard, as she is just 7 behind third place all-time for the Gulls – Michelle Bedard – and 26 behind the second place Kaylin Burke. Heidi Stevens has the Endicott career assist record with 472. In addition, Coppola’s 135 assists as a sophomore puts her second on Endicott’s list for single-season assists.
When she heard she had accumulated so many assists, Coppola said she was surprised.
“It’s funny, I had no idea. I never really thought to look,” Coppola said. “I knew I had quite a few assists, but I didn’t think I would be up there. It was kind of a pleasant surprise.”
A similar thing happened when she was playing for the Raiders. She had no idea how many points and assists she had until WHS girls basketball coach Pat Ferdinand tallied them up.
Coppola said the focus for her not on personal statistics, but the success of the team. The Gulls are off to a 4-1 start and they have lofty goals.
“Hopefully we will make the NCAA Tournament – that’s definitely the goal,” Coppola said. “First we want to win the CCC (Commonwealth Coast Conference) Championship. We haven’t done that before.”
The Move to College
The transition to the college game took some adjustments for Coppola. One of the first thing she noticed was opponents would have quality players up and down the roster.
“Coming from high school, teams might have have a couple stand out players,” Coppola said.
At 5-foot-2, Coppola also noticed the physical difference of players she went up against with Endicott. At Watertown, she would take on the bigger players on the other teams, or in practice against someone like Shannon Murphy. But in college she has to work her way around the taller players.
Her time at WHS, however, was good preparation, she said, particularly with the coaching from Ferdinand, who was an assistant coach in college before coming to Watertown.
“You kind of almost take it for granted how articulate and knowledgeable he is about the game,” Coppola said.
She also got some help from home. Her older brothers Anthony and Marco both played college hoops themselves – at Wheaton and WPI respectively. Anthony was inducted into the Watertown High School Athletics Hall of Fame in October and is an assistant coach for the WHS boys team this year.
Her brothers are always ready to share some advice and critique Coppola’s game performance.
“They come to a lot of my games,” Coppola said. “After the game, I know everything they are going to say before they say it. The know so much, especially about college basketball.”
Her younger sister Gianna played for the Raiders, and Coppola said “she could have played in college,” but chose to focus on the rest of the college experience.
Along with playing for the Gulls, Coppola said she wants to enjoy the rest of her senior year. She is majoring in Business Marketing, and has been working as a marketing intern at a company this fall as part of her college work.
“I love it up here. I has definitely been the right choice,” Coppola said. “The last four years, I feel like it has been so fast.”