Last weekend in a matchup against Colby in Morrell Gymnasium, Abby Kelly ’19 became the 15th person in Bowdoin women’s basketball history to reach 1,000 career points. The team celebrated this milestone along with its 72-59 win over the Mules for the program’s 17th consecutive win to begin the season.
At the center of Kelly’s basketball career is her family. With a younger brother and an older sister also involved in the sport, she began playing at a young age with a diverse group of athletes.
“My sister is two years older than me, so I always played with teams that were above my age level,” Kelly said. “I loved playing with her and her friends; it was awesome. Playing with older, more mature players gave me more experience, as well as playing co-ed.”
Kelly’s mom was also a successful basketball player and served as a role model for Kelly’s career. She played DIII basketball at Saint Lawrence University and was inducted into the college’s hall of fame.
“She was an awesome athlete,” Kelly said. “I was lucky to be blessed with some of her genes. I didn’t really realize how incredible and supportive [my parents] were until I left. Having a support system behind me no matter if I succeed or fail [and knowing] they are going to be proud of me as long as I’m trying my best and being happy [is great.]”
Head Coach Adrienne Shibles called a time-out when Kelly reached 1,000 points during the game last Saturday. Her teammates met Kelly on the court and swept her into an excited embrace. This event took Kelly back to the moment she reached 1,000 points in her high school career, specifically the memory of her grandfather.
“My grandfather passed away several years ago, right after my 1,000th point in high school,” Kelly said. “So this 1,000th point here has sparked the memory of him and him supporting me through everything, and I know he’s proud of where I am for sure.”
Though Kelly didn’t set a goal of reaching 1,000 points, she knew she was close leading up to the Colby game.
“It was something that I realized I could do,” Kelly said. “I’m just so blessed and proud of that fact and to leave a piece of me here at Bowdoin.”
When she first hit the court at Bowdoin, Kelly found it difficult to get used to playing basketball at a collegiate level.
“I think the NESCAC play is one of the toughest in the country, but [specifically] it’s been a challenge [to adjust to] the pace of the game, understand the program and how Bowdoin basketball works and what the coach expects,” said Kelly. “Coming in, it was definitely hard to get a feel for everything.”
After Bowdoin, Kelly hopes to use the life skills she developed as a student-athlete in her future off the court. As team captain, she learned to interact with teammates in a constructive way as well as bridge the space between coach and player.
“I’ve realized that Bowdoin basketball has pushed me to grow in a way that I never would have without basketball. Not just in the sport but as an individual,” Kelly said. “I think that’s been really, really incredible and something that not many people get. Coach [Shibles] and my teammates have pushed my boundaries both as a person and as a player … which has made me into someone that I am really proud to be.”