Hannah McNulty may be only 5-foot-6-inches tall, but she knows how to stand out on a basketball court.

The senior guard has received national attention this season by playing on the boys varsity basketball team at Stowe High School in Vermont, the first girl ever to play boys basketball in the Green Mountain state.

McNulty has decided to follow her hoop dreams to Suffolk University, where she will join the women’s basketball team next season.

“Hannah is a good athlete and I have high hopes for her,” said Suffolk women’s basketball coach Ed Leyden. “I give her a lot of credit for playing on the boys team this season. It speaks volumes about her love of the game and her character as a person. You have to root for her.”

Disappointment turns to opportunity

Due to circumstances that included injuries, eligibility and low numbers, Stowe High School, one of Vermont’s smaller schools, decided to abandon the girls basketball squad after its first game of the 2010-11 campaign.

McNulty, a three-year starter who scored 685 career points, was devastated until veteran Stowe boys basketball coach Evans Bouchard, who had coached both of McNulty’s brothers, offered her a spot on his team.

“I was very excited about having an opportunity to keep playing,” said McNulty, who has been in the starting lineup since the third game of the season, averaging nearly six points per game. “It seemed like the perfect fit for me. All the boys knew me and were totally open for me being part of the team.”

Her feel-good story has made McNulty something of a celebrity at school, in her small town, and throughout the country. She has been featured on ESPN and by USA Today and newspapers close to home.

Two-sport athlete

McNulty also played in goal on the Stowe girls soccer team, which won its first state title this year. She hopes to play soccer as well as basketball at Suffolk University, where she plans to major in accounting.

“I’m looking forward to the overall experience of attending Suffolk and living in the Boston area,” said McNulty. “The Celtics are my favorite team and Rajon Rondo is my favorite player.”