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Franklinville's Kopp will sign with Iona

Laura Kopp told her daughter that as soon as she walked onto the college campus that was right for her, she would know it.

Mothers still know best as daughter Samantha chose Iona to play her college basketball right after visiting the New Rochelle campus. "I just knew. It's where I felt most comfortable and the most at home. It was Iona for me," said Samantha.

Iona had been following Kopp's career since first seeing her play with the Crystal City Stars two summers ago at an AAU tournament in Richmond, Va.

The decision for Kopp was a difficult one as she had scholarship offers from several other Division I schools including Boston University, Northeastern, Rhode Island, Niagara, Liberty, Binghamton and Hofstra.

Samantha's cousin, Joelle Connelly of Pioneer, is currently playing at Hofstra. The Kopps plan to be at Iona's opener Nov. 14 as it hosts Hofstra.

The family also made official NCAA visits to Rhode Island and Niagara. She will sign her national letter of intent Nov. 12 in the school library.

"It was a really stressful summer. I'm so happy and really excited to go there," said Samantha.

Samantha was second team All-Western New York last season for the Panthers. She enters her senior year ranked 15th on the Western New York scoring list with 1,685 points. She led Western New York in scoring with 684 points last year.

The Gaels finished second in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference last season. The 6-foot-3 Kopp is being looked at as a small forward.

Samantha, a member of the National Honor Society, will study elementary education. Her father, Tom, is Franklinville's principal and Laura teaches physical education at Franklinville Elementary.

Laura also attended college on a basketball scholarship, having played at Penn State from 1983-87.

Holy Angels graduate Jamie Donnelly, the Western New York Player of the Year in 2000-01, also played at Iona.

e-mail: mmonnin@buffnews.com

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