Clare Droesch, former Boston College guard, dies at 36

Former Boston College guard Clare Droesch, who helped lead the Eagles to the 2004 Big East tournament title, died Friday after a 6 1/2-year battle with cancer, the school announced. She was 36.

Droesch, a native of Rockaway Beach, New York, played for high school powerhouse Christ the King in New York before going to Boston College. She averaged 9.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists in her college career from 2001-05, during which the Eagles went to the NCAA tournament all four seasons, with two Sweet 16 appearances.

"Clare was one of the most passionate players I have ever coached. She had a deep love for the game of basketball, her team and Boston College,'' Cathy Inglese, her former college coach, said in a statement. "Clare filled many roles for our team, the most important being the 'clutch player' when the game was on the line. She wanted the ball in her hands for the final shot, which was usually the winning shot. Her confidence and leadership spread to others on the team. Her impact on the team was unmeasurable."

Droesch, who was honored as an ACC Legend in 2015 and is a member of the Boston College Varsity Club Hall of Fame, was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2011.

"There are some days you feel bad and want to give up, but I'm not ever gonna do that," Droesch told espnW in 2012. "I know the people around me won't let me. I have never given up. I always fought through any hard times I had."

WNBA icon Chamique Holdsclaw, a Christ the King alum and two-time Naismith Award winner at Tennessee, and former BC coach Erik Johnson were among those to pay tribute on Twitter.

After her college career, Droesch went into coaching -- first in college and then as an assistant back at Christ the King.

In 2004, Droesch's junior year, the Eagles upset eventual national champion UConn in the Big East tournament semifinals, then beat Rutgers in the title game. Droesch also got a victory over the Huskies on her senior night in 2005, the Eagles' last season in the Big East before moving to the ACC.

She had 23 points and eight rebounds in her last college game -- an NCAA tournament second-round loss to Duke in 2005.