A story in perseverance
University of New Hampshire senior guard Kelsey Hogan of Nashua said scoring her 1,000th career point Monday against the University of Vermont in a home game in front of family, friends, coaches and teammates left a lasting impression.
"I really got emotional right after the moment because many of the people there supported me when I was injured and going through rehab," she said.
After an outstanding four-year career at Nashua North where she was a 1,000-point scorer and a four-time All-State selection, Hogan arrived on the Durham campus in the fall of 2008. But ACL injuries in 2008 and 2009 prevented her from actually starting her basketball career with the Wildcats until the 2010-11 season.
"I went through a lot of adversity at the time and I'll be honest that there were times I told myself I can't do this (rehabbing her injuries) anymore," said Hogan. "But what kept me going was a friend, a coach or a family member who wouldn't let me stop. They kept pushing me, telling me I can do it."
So on Monday, the culmination of Hogan's hard work reached its peak when she swished a free throw with 59 seconds remaining to become only the 17th player in program history to score 1,000 points.
"It's a tremendous story, an amazing accomplishment, especially after everything she's overcome in her career," said UNH head coach Maureen Magarity. "I took her out of the game (right after she scored her 1,000th point) because her emotions were flowing. The hours over the years she put in to rehab, to train and now, still working on her game in the gym — all of it — I've never coached or been around a harder working player than Kelsey. She's truly amazing, definitely the face of our program and a winner. I wish I had 15 Kelsey Hogans."
Magarity was named head coach four seasons ago when Hogan was finally healthy to start her career.
"Every day she's in the gym working on something to improve her game, so much at times I have to pull her out and tell her to go home and rest," said Magarity. "Her main goal is to help this team win. I can't tell you enough how every player on our team loves Kelsey. She leads by example and is the heart and soul of our team."
Hogan laughs when explaining what it means to be a sixth-year player on the team.
"The team refers to me as their 'grandmother' and I guess it's true," she said. "You'd think after six years in one place, you'd be itching to leave. That's not the case with me. I love this place, love my team and teammates and, I'm not ready to leave. This is the closest team I've ever been on and everyone associated with it has become my extended family."
Hogan, who is averaging 12.2 points this season, said there are more goals to attain, not for herself, but for the team.
On Thursday, the Wildcats, who have won six straight games, face their biggest challenge of the season with a road game against Albany on Thursday at noon. At stake is sole possession of first place in the America East.
UNH (10-7 overall) is 4-0 in conference play and Albany (15-3) checks in at 5-0. UNH has never won the America East Tournament or the regular season conference title, but a win Thursday could give them a chance to rewrite the record books by the end of the season.
"I had a conversation with coach Magarity that turned very emotional before this season started," said Hogan. "She's my role model and I was telling her how scary it was to think how my last game would end playing for UNH. I told her I have high expectations for our year, our program. I told her I wanted to contribute something before I leave which would help change the culture here, I want to take this program to a place it's never been to before. That's my ultimate goal."