Diamond Doe is Division 1: Lynn Classical Graduate Earns Spot on Hartford Basketball Team

Diamond Doe is a great role model for all Lynn athletes who might think it’s too late to get involved in a sport.

The Lynn Classical Class of 2010 graduate didn’t start playing organized basketball until the ninth grade when she showed up for tryouts.

She spent one year playing for coach Chris Warren’s freshman team. She moved up to the junior varsity and played one season for coach Dennis Baldini’s team.

As a junior, head coach Tom Sawyer promoted Doe to the varsity. She scored 84 points in her junior year and then became a Northeastern Conference All-Star as a senior, netting 333 points and averaging 16 points per game.

After one season at Division 3 University of Saint Joseph in Connecticut, Doe transferred to the University of Hartford. She worked out with the team as a sophomore and earned a spot on the team this season.

Doe, 20, is a now a reserve guard for the Division 1 Lady Hawks and playing for coach Jennifer Rizzotti, the former UConn star who led the Huskies to a national championship and a 35-0 record in 1995. Interestingly, Hartford played UConn in an intrastate matchup Saturday.

It is believed that Doe is the only Lynn high school basketball player currently competing in Division 1, joining the elite ranks of former Classical stars and Quinnipiac graduates Monique Lee and Helen Ridley, among others.

“It feels good to be playing Division 1 basketball – I really like it,” Doe told the Lynn Journal in an interview last Thursday. “It’s exciting. To come from Division 3 to Division 1 is a big deal.”

Doe was a starting player for the University of Saint Joseph. She is now getting used to the faster pace and intense competitiveness of Division 1 basketball.

“Competing at this level is a lot different from D-3 but I’ve gotten used to it,” said Doe. “The players in D-3 are really good. But D-1 is a lot different compared to high school and college. It was a big transition for me. The game is much faster and the women are a lot bigger in Division 1.”

Doe attends practices for a few hours each day and also participates in weightlifting sessions three days a week. She is a balancing her busy basketball schedule with her academics.

“I’m majoring in the Health Sciences,” said Doe, who lives on the Hartford campus. “I have a schedule that I have to follow each day. I’ll have a class and then go to practice and after practice, I’ll have a class and then I go the library and study. I’m doing well in my studies.”

Doe said she’s read about Rizzotti’s achievements as a college player. “I know she was a great player at UConn and played professional basketball,” said Doe. “All the players on the Hartford team are great players individually. I’m learning a lot from them and I enjoy having them as my teammates.”

Doe said the Hartford team paid tribute to the victims in the tragedy that took place at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Doe said team placed “SH” on their uniforms and there was a moment of silence observed at a game.

She’s happy that she spent four years in the Classical program and paid attention to the coaches.

“Coach Sawyer is a great coach and I enjoyed playing basketball for him,” said Doe. “Every time we had practice, he challenged the players each day. We did well as a team and qualified for the State Tournament. I’m just very appreciative of being at Hartford and my experience at Classical helped me get here.”

Asked whether she considers herself a role model for Lynn girls basketball players, she replied, “I would like to think so.”

Sawyer remembers Doe’s years in the program, including the time she scored a basket for the other team as a freshman.

“Chris [Warren] was saying ‘no, no, no,’ and Diamond thought he was saying, ‘go, go, go,’” recalled Sawyer.

Sawyer said Doe’s development as a basketball player was steady.

“It was clear from the beginning that Diamond had a tremendous amount of athletic ability,” said Sawyer. “She was new to the game so her basketball skills were commensurate with somebody that’s new to the game.”

After a strong campaign as a starter for the junior varsity, Doe became a varsity player for the 2008-9 season. By the end of that season, she had moved in to the starting five. She was a starter from the very first game of her senior year for the 11-9 Rams that qualified for the State Tournament.

“Diamond’s improvement was unbelievably vast from her freshman year to her senior year,” said Sawyer. “Her improvement was 100 percent because of her work ethic – which was 100 percent because of her love of basketball. She loves the game and as a result she took every opportunity to make herself a better player.”

Sawyer said Doe played guard for the 2009-10 Rams

“Diamond was tremendous at the top of our zone defense because she’s so athletic and fast and had the nose for the ball and really caused a lot of turnovers and had a tremendous number of steals which she then used speed and turn them into layups,” said Doe. “

Sawyer felt that college basketball was in her future.

“I thought she could play Division 3 college basketball player which is what she set out to do and she did that,” said Sawyer. “I watched her play against Emerson and she had a very good game. She transferred to Hartford and she told me in March that she had been practicing with the team and that the coach was going to let her walk on this season. She was extremely excited and I was excited for her. I was just so proud of her because she’s a kid that really loves the game. She used the game to make friends. She tried out for basketball at Classical because she thought it would be a good way to make friends and she was right. I’m very happy for her.”

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