By Marvin Pave, Globe Correspondent
As a youngster shooting hoops in the driveway of their Marlborough home with her father and older sisters, Emily Reilly made it emphatically clear what the future would bring.
"I said I'd be playing basketball at UConn and then become the first woman in the NBA,'' recalled Reilly, who these days is doing just about everything on the court for the Clark University women's team.
As of last weekend, the 5-foot-7 junior guard was leading the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference in scoring (17.7 points per game) and was Clark's top rebounder (7.6 per game). She was also connecting on 49.6 percent of her field goal attempts.
"When I saw Emily play at Marlborough High, I thought she'd be a sensational player here and she's exceeded my expectations,'' said coach Pat Glispin, whose team was off to a 7-3 start in her 29th year at Clark. "To be our leading scorer and rebounder and to also take on a tough defensive matchup every game says a lot about the caliber of player she is. Emily has the ability to take over games in crucial stretches.''
Reilly, a team and Midland Wachusett League MVP in high school, is part of a junior core that has helped turn the Worcester school's program around.
Clark won just five games in the 2009-10 season, and improved to nine wins during Reilly's freshman year, when she earned a starting role. The Cougars went 16-11 last season — their best record in five years — and advanced to the ECAC Division 3 tournament.
A four-year starter at Marlborough High for coach Pat Kiley, Reilly was named to the NEWMAC second team last season after averaging 14.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, and reaching double figures in all but one game.
Reilly likes hitting the defensive boards and jumping out on the break with point guard Ashleigh Condon, a junior.
"We work great together and we know one another's moves,'' said Reilly, who still wears the knee pads from her high school and North Central Blaze AAU days for good luck.
"The biggest thing for me is to learn more and improve from year to year. I like to go to the basket, I can use my quickness to go down low, and when it's time to rebound, I'll be right there.''
She was coached by her father, Joseph Reilly, at the Marlborough Boys & Girls Club and at Immaculate Conception School in Marlborough.
"We still go out to the driveway and always talk basketball,'' said Reilly.
Glispin has high praise: "I know that when I look back on my career, Emily will be in that top group of players I've had the privilege to coach. Every day I see her play I consider myself very lucky to have her."
Players on Clark's roster with local roots include senior forward and cocaptain Kelsey Giedymin (Shrewsbury High), junior guard Annmarie Fransen (Belmont High), sophomore forward Victoria Russo (Arlington High), and freshman guard Brooke Brennan of Weston (Rivers School).