The 2016-17 WFS women’s basketball season was successful – they ended with a 12-8 record and fought hard against Archmere in the first round of the state tournament. That year, the team graduated three senior starters: Meggie Flanagan ’17, Jayna Jones ’17, and Margaret Sullivan ’17. This left a hole in the team’s leadership, and there was no question about who would take their place. One of the four senior captains, Natalie DePaulo ’18, through her scoring ability, defensive intensity, and overall leadership mentality, led her team to a season that our school will remember.
This year, DePaulo reached a milestone that few in Wilmington Friends history have accomplished. On January 27th, 2018 DePaulo scored her 1000th point for the Quakers in an away game against Tower Hill. “It was funny because I was taking a foul shot and I knew that I was right there and could do it right then, but I just had to tell myself to focus on making that basket and focus on getting the win rather than my 1000th point because that was what was important,” commented DePaulo. DePaulo consistently puts emphasis on the success of the team being more important than the success of one person.
This feat did not come about without countless hours of hard work behind the scenes. DePaulo is known for her strong work ethic and commitment to the game of basketball: “Natalie DePaulo is one of the hardest working athletes I have ever been around. She is very diligent. She works very hard. She has a ‘stick-to-itive’ attitude. I can’t wait to see how this transfers to her vocational life,” observed Jeffrey Ransom, Athletic Director. Ransom highlighted not only her ability to work hard and be devoted, but also her ability to face adversity.
DePaulo began her varsity career in 8th grade and has been consistently growing and polishing her game ever since. While she has improved her technical basketball skills, she has also worked to improve as a leader and a teammate: “Natalie has an extremely strong work ethic, and she has always been a team leader by giving advice to other teammates and by bringing the team together with her strong sense of humor. Her passion for basketball can be felt throughout the entire team, and that is why getting 1,000 points is so exciting – we all know how important this is to her, and that’s why we were all so excited,” explained Hailey DiCindio ’18, another girls basketball captain. This year DePaulo was left with big shoes to fill in terms of being a leader on the team, but she has done an incredible job of stepping up to fill those shoes and guiding her team.
Depaulo was actually expected to get her 1000th point the game before she actually did, against Wilmington Christian on January 25th. However, DePaulo selflessly committed the last foul she had to give in order to stop the clock; she fouled out of the game with 999 points. This is a perfect example of her selfless playing style. Throughout her 5 years on varsity, DePaulo has, without fail, put the success of her team over her own. Grant Sheppard ’19 echoed the sentiment of the rest of the Wilmington Friends School community: “I really respect Natalie’s grind, and I’m so glad it’s paid off for her.”