When Norinne Powers was on her game—which is to say, virtually any time she stepped on the basketball court—few players could thwart her scoring moves. Powers, a 6-foot-2 center for Nanuet High School, could create scoring opportunities as well as just about anyone in Rockland scholastic girls’ basketball history.
By the time she graduated in 1989, Powers had established herself as one of the two finest pivot players (along with Nyack’s Dawn Royster) in Rockland girls’ hoop annals. And Powers didn’t stop there. She went on to an outstanding NCAA Division I career at Holy Cross and played professionally in Germany for four years.
A stellar three-sport athlete at Nanuet—soccer goalkeeper, basketball center, and softball shortstop, pitcher and outfielder—Powers carved her greatest niche on the basketball hardwood. In her senior year she was named New York State Female Athlete of the Year—for all sports—by USA Today, as well as New York State Player of the Year by the state sportswriters association and New York State “Miss Basketball” by the state basketball coaches association.
That shining season—1988-89—Powers averaged a county-record 30.2 points a game (a record 697 points in 23 games), as well as 17.2 rebounds and 5 blocked shots a game. She finished her four-year varsity career with a then-county-record 1,609 points—it still ranks No. 3 on the all-time county list—and 1,107 rebounds.
In her last three years, Powers led the Golden Knights to records of 21-2, 21-3 and 20-3; three conference championships; and two Section 1 runner-up finishes (one each in Class B and C), both times losing to the eventual state champion, Our Lady of Lourdes. She made All-Section 1 all three years. Powers’ brother, Dave, was Nanuet’s head coach during her four years on the basketball team and for two of her four years in soccer.
In the fall, Powers was a four-year starting soccer goalkeeper who used her height and agility to help lead the Knights to a combined mark of 57-20-4. In her senior season, she posted a then-county record of 13 shutouts—giving her a still-standing Rockland record of 40 career shutouts—to spearhead Nanuet to the Section 1 Class C title and advancement to the state quarterfinals. All told, Powers earned three All-County and All-Section citations apiece and one third-team All-State designation. Her teams won two conference and two sectional championships.
In the spring, Powers was a four-year, All-League softball starter who earned All-County and All-Section honors her senior year as a pitcher and shortstop, when the Knights won the Section 1 Class C title and advanced to the state quarterfinals. And in the summer, she played on gold- and bronze-medal-winning teams for the Hudson Valley Region scholastic women’s basketball team in the Empire State Games.
After earning a full athletic scholarship to Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass., Powers built upon her high school success with a sterling four-year career for the Crusaders. A four-year starter, she scored 1,652 career points and pulled down 1,008 career rebounds playing against tough Division I competition.
The accolades poured in as she progressed from All-Rookie Team honoree her freshman year to Patriot League Player of the Year her junior and senior years. Powers helped lead Holy Cross to Patriot League titles her sophomore and senior years, which earned the Crusaders berths in the NCAA Division I Tournament both years. Holy Cross upset Rutgers, the No. 2 seed in the East Regional, her senior year and advanced to the second round before exiting.
Powers’ golden season culminated in her being named Holy Cross NCAA Woman of the Year in 1993, as well as All-Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference. In 1999 she was elected to the Holy Cross Athletic Hall of Fame.
With no professional women’s basketball league yet established in the United States, Powers opted to go the European route after college. She enjoyed a successful four-year career in Germany. Her first year, 1993-94, with SV-Stuttgart Mohringen, she was team captain and leading scorer, averaging 18.5 points a game. She then spent three seasons with BG Ludwigburg, also based in Stuttgart, averaging a team-leading 19.4 points a game and captaining the club to the league championship in 1996-97. A severe ankle injury ended her basketball-playing career.
Powers, who turns 31 on April 21, spent a season as the assistant women’s basketball coach at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, then pursued graduate studies in art history at the University of Oregon. She is now a personal trainer in Eugene, Ore.