As a freshman at Delone Catholic High School, Meredith Cox scored 21 points in the Pennsylvania state championship game. That win, and the next two state titles, put her front and center on the Pennsylvania basketball stage.

Now one year and 80 miles removed from southern Pennsylvania and the epic on-court battles with York Catholic, little has changed for the freshman forward.

Cox’s high school coach, Gerry Eckenrode, says she spent just as much time dishing the ball to her teammates as she did racking up points.

“Meredith is the best player I’ve ever coached,” Eckenrode says. “More than anything else, she made her teammates around her better. She knew how to get the ball into your hands so you could do something with it.”

Throughout high school, Cox would often pass up a shot to find an open teammate.

“I would have to tell her, `Meredith, I’d rather have you shooting it than anyone,'” Eckenrode says.

Cox has shown that penchant for the pass this year, often reversing the ball or looking for junior forward Kieraah Marlow inside instead of shooting, even though she is one of the Hoyas’ best shooters.

Like her game, Cox’s outlook hasn’t changed much since the day she bid rural Hanover, Pa., goodbye for a trip down the Beltway and into the bright lights of Big East basketball.

“Meredith is a hard worker,” Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy says. “She works hard, and that’s why she’s improved from the beginning of the season to the player she is now.”

Cox is currently second on the team in three-point shooting. She earned a slot in the starting lineup and has averaged close to 10 points per game over her last five.

But on this Georgetown team, the offense runs through her, and more often than not that places the burden on forward arlow’s shoulders. As comfortable as she is with the ball in her hands in pressure situations, Cox is content to toil modestly out of the limelight.

“If I play five minutes [or] if I play 30 minutes I just want to do whatever I can to help the team get better,” Cox says. “Whatever Coach wants out of me, I will give.”

While she was a one-game scoring machine in her days at Delone, she’s found a different niche at Georgetown.

“In college you have a role,” Cox says. “I’m a shooter. Everyone has a role and if you do your role, hopefully it will come together.”

From Williams-Flournoy to Eckenrode to her parents, who attend every home game in McDonough Gymnasium, everyone knows Cox is a scorer. But no one is rushing her into the shooter’s role just yet.

Eckenrode did not start Cox for her first 10 games of high school, though he knew he had a gem on the bench. “First, I didn’t want to put undue pressure on her,” he says, “and I wanted her teammates to recognize her as a player.”

After those 10 games, Cox did start – and lead. Although Cox was the best thing in Eckenrode’s offense, not to mention eastern Pennsylvania, she is quick to deflect attention.

“The great thing about Meredith is her humility,” Eckenrode says. “I mean, if anyone could walk around with their nose up, given what she did, it could have been Meredith. But she never did.”

That’s the player Williams-Flournoy knows she possesses in Cox as well as the type of player Cox aspires to be.

“We have seven games left and we want to make it to the Big East tournament,” Cox says, though with each Big East loss the chances are dwindling. “If Coach wants me to be shooter, I’ll be the shooter. If she wants me to be the passer, I’ll do that. Whatever she wants me to do, I’ll do that for the next seven games.”

Cox has not come close this season to matching her standout state championship performance of 21 points, and Williams-Flournoy does not expect her to just yet, but she would like to see the former AAU star develop a slightly less hesitant trigger finger.

“She’ll get more comfortable shooting,” Williams-Flournoy says confidently. “She’s still just a freshman.”

Then again, Cox has already shown what she can do as a freshman.

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