After being only the 12th player in Castleton women’s basketball history to reach 1,000 points, senior Vanessa Powers became the first player in school history to be chosen to play in the NEWBA Senior Classic game.
Powers scored her 1,000th point on Feb. 21 against Thomas College, leading the Spartans to victory in the North Atlantic Conference quarterfinal game and eventually the NAC championship against Colby-Sawyer.
“I didn’t see the floor much my freshman year, so I knew that in my three years at Castleton, it was going to be very hard to reach 1,000,” Powers explained. “I had no idea I was even close until we had just five games left in our season. It was definitely a big surprise.”
However, this wasn’t Powers’ only time contributing to her team’s success.
After transferring to Castleton as a sophomore from Rhode Island College in 2009 for academic purposes, she led the Spartans in rebounds with 171. She was second in team points, averaging 9.2 points per game. Powers was named the team MVP in her 2010-2011 season, which was her second year at Castleton. During that season, she also was named NAC player of the week twice. She ranked first in rebounding, with 158 rebounds and averaged 14.3 points per game.
Academically, she also shined.
Powers earned the NAC First Team Honors in 2010-2011. She was garnered with honorable mention accolades from the NEWBA twice during that season as well.
This past season was no different for Powers statistics wise as she averaged 14.5 points per game, scoring 406 in the season.
At the end of the season, Powers played in 83 games in her Castleton career and had scored 1,049 points.
“That’s the thing about Vanessa, she made her 1,000 points in just three years and only 83 games,” said Powers’ coach, Tim Barrett.
As she lined up at the foul line in the game against Thomas College, she knew she was just two points away from reaching her 1,000th.
“I never make both free throws, so it was a big shock when the second one went in,” said Powers. “It’s a big accomplishment that I never thought I would get.”
Just days before Powers scored her 1,000th, another Castleton athlete, Mark Comstock had scored his 1,000th point as a junior on the men’s basketball team.
“We both worked really hard to reach this goal. I tried to stay focused and not think about how Mark had just made his, and I just tried to think of it as another regular season game.”
Powers’ teammates saw her as a great addition to the team and an awesome leader. Barrett described her as being less of a vocal leader and more as a player that leads by example.
“She has advantage over every other forward; she’s taller, longer and faster. She’s also extremely reliable,” said teammate Christine Jacques. “You can pretty much just throw the ball and you know that she’ll be there to get it.”
Barrett says that while her individual statistics are impressive she is a team player at heart.
“She is really all about team success, and she reached this goal by being a consummate team player,” said Barrett.
After having such a successful season, Powers was named in the NEWBA Senior All-Star Classic, which will be played at Western New England University on Saturday, Mar. 24. Other Division III players in New England that have been voted in by other coaches participate in the game.
“I’m really just proud of her, mostly because her accomplishments were recognized by other coaches in New England,” said Barrett.
Other players are representing schools such as Rhode Island College, Bridgewater State University, Babson College, University of New England and 12 other schools.
“It’s honestly just a great feeling. By accomplishing this goal, I am now a part of the history,” said Powers. “It’s an overall great feeling that is so hard to explain, and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my team and my coaches.”