Chloe Pavlech isn’t taking for granted how awesome her freshman year has been.
On the court, she has recorded the first 20-point outing of her career against then ranked Miami and has dropped 18 in a critical, revenge-focused game against one of the ACC’s best teams in North Carolina. She has had two other double-digit scoring performances as well, one in a nationally televised game against perennial powerhouse UConn and the other in her first ever ACC tournament game.
She finished the regular season and ACC tournament ranked eighth in the conference with 4 assists per game and fifth in the conference with an assist/turnover ratio of 1.5.
Pavlech was rewarded for these accomplishments when she was named to the Blue Ribbon Panel’s All-ACC freshman team. She also can be satisfied knowing that both she and her former AAU teammate Malina Howard – an All-ACC freshman in the coaches vote – made their mark as freshman after making the journey from Ohio to Maryland together.
“Our chemistry is incredible and we truly are a family, with a whole bunch of sisters.” -Chloe Pavlech
Chloe has also caught the eye of Rebecca Lobo because of the effort she has shown, in addition to getting to meet Lobo, Doris Burke and Carolyn Peck over the course of the season – encounters that were particularly meaningful to the freshman broadcast journalism major.
It has been a series of events that may have been hard for Pavlech to have seen coming last summer, when she was preparing to attend her dream school.
The 5-9 Cincinnati native was the No. 23 point guard in her class coming out of high school – so not as highly ranked as her fellow 2012 Terrapin recruits in Howard (No. 1 post player, No. 6 overall) and Tierney Pfirman (No. 5 forward, No. 22 overall). But she stands out as the one who was the first to commit to Maryland, because she and the program showed a mutual interest in one another very early on.
Brenda Frese extended an offer to Chloe when the future Maryland point guard was still in between her sophomore and junior years of high school. After originally planning to take her time choosing a college, Pavlech was too excited at the offer and immediately accepted the opportunity to play for Frese and the school that had been number one on her list since fifth grade. Even though she’s from Cincinnati, she grew up watching the Terrapins and actually met Frese at the 2006 Final Four and got her autograph.
Coming to College Park was a picture perfect scenario for Chloe, but not many people would have expected her to start or even play that many minutes right away, with reigning All-ACC freshman Brene Moseley and preseason All-ACC selection Laurin Mincy ready to hold it down in the backcourt.
But, as it has been well documented, both Moseley and Mincy were lost for the season to ACL tears – Brene before the season started and Laurin on Nov. 28 at Nebraska.
The burden of running the offense has therefore fallen on Chloe and she hasn’t disappointed.
In fact, it has been Pavlech’s surprising poise and occasional scoring bursts that have been perhaps most responsible for ensuring that the Terps do not miss a beat. Their team is made up of a lot of x-factors, but Pavlech may be the biggest.
“My teammates have given me so much confidence, and I think because they’ve trusted me with this role and as a point guard, it’s just really helped me lead and helped us not miss a beat at all,” Pavlech said of stepping up due to the injuries. “Our chemistry is incredible and we truly are a family, with a whole bunch of sisters.”
Chloe actually has one of the lowest scoring averages on the team at 5.4 points per game, but often it is the less noticed things that make her an x-factor. She has started all but three games and played more minutes than any of the other freshmen, as well as more minutes than all-ACC first team forward Tianna Hawkins. Only Alyssa Thomas and Katie Rutan have logged more minutes than Pavlech for a team that has desperately needed a few key players who can play on very little rest.
In addition, one of the biggest things Pavlech brings to the Maryland program is her big personality off the court.
Chloe won’t hesitate to tell you that she likes being on camera and postgame press conferences seem to be situations she looks forward to and enjoys. After the UNC game where she scored 18, she was asked about always doing so well in big games and responded with: “I think they call that a show pony.”
That’s the best example of what she seems to have done all year – kept everyone in the media room on their toes and her fellow teammates holding back giggles.
Her personality is also on display for the Maryland women’s basketball fans who watch the team’s reality TV-style show “Under the Shell” on Comcast SportsNet DC and YouTube. On “Under the Shell,” Pavlech has done stuff like mock-interviewing Alyssa Thomas, as well as doing some of her own filming and going behind the scenes before the team’s game against UConn to see how an ESPN broadcast is put together.
“Under the shell has been a great opportunity,” Pavlech said. “I love talking in front of the camera and sometimes I like being the center of attention. So it’s been a lot of fun and my teammates get a really big kick out of it when I talk on camera, so that’s been great too.”
But Pavlech isn’t a “show pony” at all times. There is also a humility about her that definitely seems genuine.
For example, she will be the first to point out that she has also had a lot of shortcomings in big games.
“During a couple of our big games I haven’t always played great, like our last one vs. Carolina,” Pavlech said. “And then both of our games vs. Duke I haven’t really shined as bright as I think that I can. Just really being able to get more consistent throughout my game is really going to help our team take it to the next level.”
Whether entertaining or humble, you can tell that Pavlech has that media savvy, which isn’t any big surprise, seeing as that is what she wants to go into. It should be noted though, that she is not restricting herself to just sports journalism, or even just journalism. She wants to be a coach someday too.
“Coach Frese is really harping on savoring the moment, savoring the now, because next year we don’t know what the future holds.” -Chloe Pavlech
Pavlech’s exploits so far this year have been well documented in The Washington Post and The University of Maryland’s Diamondback, and they even got mentioned on espnW. But now it’s time for a new chapter, an even bigger stage and an even bigger opportunity for Chloe to rise to the occasion.
And the freshman point guard, who is a big Marissa Coleman fan, has a sense of history and knows what the NCAA tournament is all about when you play for Maryland.
“The NCAA tournament is a huge stage and we definitely want to be like the 2006 national championship team,” Pavlech said. “Coach Frese told us in 2006 they didn’t win the ACC championship either, so that kind of put a chip on our shoulder because of course we want to be just like them and we want to make our own history as well.”
If the 2012-13 Maryland team does go deep in the tournament this year, it will only add to what has already been an incredible ride for Pavlech during her freshman campaign.
In her introductory profile written on umterps.com after she got recruited, Pavlech is quoted as saying: “The reality is better than the dream.”
She says her freshman year has lived up to that statement.
“My freshman year has been better than I ever expected the dream to be,” Pavlech said. “The reality is crazy and I kind of think back on it sometimes when I’m by myself and I still can’t even believe it. But it’s just really crazy how fast my freshman year has gone by. Coach Frese is really harping on savoring the moment, savoring the now, because next year we don’t know what the future holds.”