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LeClaire grateful for her career as she looks forward

Former Green Bay and Notre Dame star Allie LeClaire enjoyed great success playing for the Tritons and Phoenix.

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- For eight seasons Allie LeClaire has basically been in the basketball spotlights in Green Bay, starring in high school for Notre Dame and in college for Green Bay.

Earlier this month, LeClaire's run came to an end when Green Bay lost to Minnesota in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

With the loss, a great basketball run has come to an end, at least in Green Bay. LeClaire led Notre Dame to the state tournament three straight seasons and won two Division 2 state titles her junior and senior seasons.

At Green Bay, she helped the Phoenix win four Horizon League regular season and tournament titles, which led to four straight NCAA Tournament berths.

At Notre Dame, she ended her career as the school's all-time leading scorer with 1,536 points and at Green Bay she finished with 1,489 points, seventh on the program's all-time list. That's 3,025 career points.

Recently, LeClaire sat down to talk about her career, starting with her final game at Green Bay, a painful loss to Minnesota.

"I think after the game it was extremely emotional because you realize you're never going to put that jersey on again, playing with your teammates and sitting in that locker room," she said. "The more I get to reflect on it and things like that, I'm just grateful. I think if you ask anyone else I don't think they're fortunate to have made the NCAAs four years in a row.

"I think of you look at it from that perspective, definitely super grateful."

LeClaire started her run as a freshman at Notre Dame where playing time was limited, but she developed into a star player. For eight seasons she played in front of family and friends, but her next step -- professional basketball -- won't be in Green Bay and that will be a change.

"I always think about the next step now, knowing that I won't be able to play in front of my friends and families, that's huge for me," LeClaire said. "I don't think I was going to go anywhere far, because I couldn't leave my friends and my family behind and they're huge reason I come and play every day because I want to make them proud."

LeClaire is at a basketball combine in Columbus, Ohio, this week for college players looking to make it at the next level. She's excited for what lies ahead, but also is a little scared as quite possibly she will play overseas.

"To know I might be going to a different country is very scary, but I think it's time," she said. "I think it's time to grow by myself and find out what's very important to me. Whether it's one year and I'm done or I want to keep playing, I think I'll figure that out. Right now, I'm just having fun training, knowing that my basketball career isn't done."

LeClaire's stardom started as a sophomore at Notre Dame, where she led the Tritons to the state tournament. From there, she took off and said having former Green Bay player and assistant coach Sara Rohde as coach at Notre Dame prepared her perfectly for what Phoenix coach Kevin Borseth would ask of players.

"Sara prepared me so well," she said. "The offense, I came in and I knew what I was doing and I had to adjust to the defense. Like I said, high school definitely prepared me. Sara prepared me.

"I don't know if she gets all the credit, but she should get a lot of credit because she helped me, put me through workouts and believed in me from day one and knew I wanted to pursue my college dream of playing Division I basketball."

LeClaire left a huge mark at Notre Dame and Green Bay and all she did was win. In eight seasons between Notre Dame and Green Bay, her teams' record was a combined 199-40. Her play on the court led her to having many fans and she says without them she would not have experienced the success she had.

"A lot of people don't realize the impact they've had on me, whether that was sending texts or emails or gve me hugs after the game, or just coming to the games, even if they had to leave after and couldn't come say hi," LeClaire said. "It truly meant the world and I don't think people understand how much my basketball career and them are linked together and how much it pushed me to get better and know they have played as much a part in this journey as I have.

"So, I really want to say thank you. They blessed me with the opportunity to play here and continue to play here and I wouldn't change a thing because of how much fun I had and a lot of it is due to the fans and the people I surround myself with."

Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay

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