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A leader by example: a look back on Jess Genco’s Husky career

Genco+calls+a+play+during+a+game+against+UMass+Dec.+2.
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A leader by example: a look back on Jess Genco’s Husky career

Genco calls a play during a game against UMass Dec. 2.

Genco calls a play during a game against UMass Dec. 2.

Brian Bae

Genco calls a play during a game against UMass Dec. 2.

Brian Bae

Brian Bae

Genco calls a play during a game against UMass Dec. 2.

Vincent van Oorschot, news staff

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Northeastern has had many great leaders in their program history, such as Tesha Tinsley, Sam DeFreese, Pam Green, Carla Singleton and Katasha Artis. The Huskies are set to say goodbye to another influential leader at this season’s end as Jess Genco graduates.

The 5-foot-5 guard is not an imposing presence on the basketball court, but her style of play is anything but invisible. Her vision on the hardwood is almost unparalleled in the CAA, her shooting is a level above any of those who came before her at Northeastern and her leadership was felt by not only her fellow teammates, but also those who came to Cabot Center see her.

Genco enters her last four games of CAA play with two significant records under her belt . It was on Jan. 4 that the guard broke Northeastern’s all-time 3-point record. After knocking down her second triple of the game against Elon, she passed Melissa Kowalski’s record of 245 made 3s. Genco is sitting on 276 going into Friday’s game against Hofstra.

She dished out her 466th career assist on Feb. 1 against Charleston, breaking Tesha Tinsley’s career record.

Genco has always been a silent leader, in that she has never held her individual accolades in high regard.

“I don’t really pursue the records, they just kinda happen,” Genco said. “It’ll be a nice thing to look back on when I’m older, but right now it doesn’t really hold that much weight to me.”

Riley Robinson
Genco drives past a defender in a game against UMass Dec. 2.

A fond memory of Genco’s was back in her freshman year when the Huskies did not have an exceptional record, but managed to string together a six-game win streak at the end of the season.

“I think that memory was a turning point for the team as a whole at that end of that season and moving into the next and it helped start the process of where we are today,” Genco said.

Genco, who is originally from Scranton, Pennsylvania, is the daughter of Catherine and Gerard Genco, who played basketball at Fordham University and the University of Scranton, respectively in their collegiate years, but they never directly pushed Genco or her siblings towards basketball.

“My parents did a good job of letting us choose our own favorite sport, and mine just happened to be basketball which I’m sure they liked,” Genco said laughingly. “All of my siblings play basketball, but for instance my little sister does gymnastics which is her thing.

“But basketball is the glue that really ties the family together.”

Genco, a business major at Northeastern, has led with her actions throughout her Husky career. She has always been a leader by example, and her influence has helped new Huskies contribute to the team.

“On the team she’s definitely had the biggest impact to me,” freshman guard Katie May said of Genco. “Coming in and playing right away can be a really nerve-wracking thing but she was always there and as a guard she’s taught me a lot and we’ve become really good friends.”

May said that as a result of the friendship she has built with Genco off the court, her game has improved on the court.

Genco’s achievements throughout her time at Northeastern are extensive. Her freshman year in 2015-16 was headlined by three CAA Rookie of the Week awards, capped off by her All-Rookie First-Team nomination. Her sophomore year was committed more to her development as an all-around guard. She averaged a whopping 37.6 minutes per game, leading the team in that category while also averaging 4.1 assists per game. In Genco’s junior year she came into the spotlight, earning a nomination to the All-CAA First Team while averaging 14.8 points per game.

When it came to Genco’s senior year in 2018-19, she wasted no time in pushing her team for success after being given the leadership role in her final year. The team  broke Northeastern’s record for the best season start to the season, opening 9-0. In the midst of this run was a matchup with Providence on Dec. 15, when Genco drained a new program record for most 3-pointers made in a game with nine. Her senior season is filled with highs. Genco is averaging 37.7 minutes per game while racking up 16.5 points per game, 4.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 41.9 percent from the field.

Riley Robinson
Genco looks to make a move past a defender in a game against Delaware Jan. 20.

The goal for Genco has always been to make the elusive NCAA Tournament in March. Northeastern women’s basketball has made it to the tournament once before, back in 1999, but this Northeastern team is one of the top mid-major offensive powerhouses in the nation, having made the mid-major top-25 rankings on numerous occasions throughout the season.

“We’re gonna miss her work ethic when she leaves, and how much of a team-player she actually is,” said head coach Kelly Cole. “She’s always the first one in and the last one out, and every second she’s on that court fighting to win, she’s giving it 110 percent.”

When Cole first saw Genco play she had no idea what kind of a player she would turn out to be, but looking back on the career Genco has made for herself at Northeastern, there will be a significant shift to the team when she moves on.

The Huskies have positioned themselves on a 15-9 record at this stage in the season, going 5-8 in the CAA, but Genco and the Northeastern team behind her will look for nothing less than the CAA title in Delaware come March 13.

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