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Harlem grad McKaela Schmelzer to play in WNIT Rockford Regional

Published: Mar. 17, 2021 at 9:14 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A Division 1 two-sport star won’t have to travel very far to take part in march madness this year. For Harlem alum McKaela Schmelzer, it’s a St. Patrick’s Day situation that seems more far-fetched than wrestling a leprechaun for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Schmelzer, who also starred on the Milwaukee soccer team, will be playing what could be the final basketball games of her senior season within 15 miles of where she grew up.

“Making it into the WNIT is one thing, but to be able to play that game in your hometown is pretty cool. I’m definitely a little more anxious,” Schmelzer said. “Basketball is friends and family and it brings everybody together, so it’s really cool I get to play in my hometown.”

The Panthers starting point guard will be hooping it up at the Women’s National Invitation Tournament at the UW Health Sports Factory. Milwaukee is guaranteed two games in downtown Rockford, starting with Friday night’s opener at 8 p.m against Drake.

“It’s insane to me because growing up there’s no (NCAA) Division 1 college (in Rockford) and when I was here, there’s like no chance I’ll ever actually play in my hometown,” Schmelzer said. “It’s like what are the odds that this is all happening and that I get to playback in my hometown. Especially, yes I’m coming back, but my senior year, that’s so fun.”

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