Top basketball players of the century: Girls No. 2, Kathleen Doyle of Benet

  • Benet Academy's Kathleen Doyle works her way through Trinity's defense in the second half of Class 4A state tournament game in 2016.

      Benet Academy's Kathleen Doyle works her way through Trinity's defense in the second half of Class 4A state tournament game in 2016. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Benet Academy's Kathleen Doyle drives past Oswego East's Alexis Davis during a sectional game in 2016.

    Benet Academy's Kathleen Doyle drives past Oswego East's Alexis Davis during a sectional game in 2016. Daily Herald File Photo

 
 
Updated 6/6/2020 3:42 PM

Benet coach Joe Kilbride likens Kathleen Doyle to a Swiss Army knife on the basketball floor.

"She's got that ability to see what the team needs for me to win and then go provide that, whatever it is," Kilbride said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Often Doyle let her teammates provide the scoring, finding other ways to contribute.

The result, of course, was two consecutive state championships her final two seasons in high school, 2015 and 2016.

Individual awards also came her way. She was a two-time first-team all-state player and Ms. Basketball as a senior. She was the player of the year in the East Suburban Catholic Conference and an All-America pick in 2016.

All told Doyle finished with 1,636 points in 133 games, second by 2 points in school history. She holds the school marks for all-time steals and assists and is in the top five in rebounds.

But stats tell just part of the story.

"Kathleen was just a winner. She honestly could have had mind-boggling stats, but that wasn't what she was about," Kilbride said. "In games that didn't really matter she didn't even try to score. She'd go get 10 points and 10 assists instead of putting up shots.

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"She just kind of understood that whatever we needed her to do to win, that's what she would go do. Whether it was defend, rebound, score, facilitate, whatever. She just was a winner. Still is."

Not only did she not need to score for Benet to win, she often just didn't care about scoring, a trait that remains a key part of her game.

"She was one of those rare players who can score 5 points and dominate a game. It's an uncanny ability," said Kilbride, who believes Doyle is the best player in Benet's impressive basketball history, regardless of gender.

Doyle played four seasons at Iowa, where she was named Big Ten Player of the Year this spring. She was drafted by the Indiana Fever in the WNBA Draft.

She was a 5-foot-9 point guard with such great athleticism that she usually jumped center instead of taller teammates. She could play the post or guard the post as needed and make life miserable for her opponent.

"I do think people overlook how good an athlete she is," Kilbride said. "She's an exceptional athlete. But she's an elite competitor in terms of her understanding, grit and determination."

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