Scoring 1,000 points is a huge accomplishment for any player. But having one team with two 1,000-point scorers in the same season? Now that’s rare.
However, that’s just what happened with the Castleton women’s basketball team this season, with seniors Meghan O’Sullivan and Jade Desroches reaching the mark less than a week apart from each other.
“As freshmen, I definitely thought that both players could be major contributors to the program,” said head coach Tim Barrett. “Now looking on their accomplishments, it’s easy to see that they epitomize what a student athlete should be.”
With such illustrious careers and impressive resumes, it would be easy to think that both players arrived their freshman year with brash expectations and lofty goals for themselves. However, both players came into the program much the same as anyone else – timid and a little intimidated.
“On my recruitment trip to Castleton, I watched the team play Husson. The girl that played my position was really talented so I was definitely intimidated in that way,” said O’Sullivan, a forward.
Desroches was much the same way, citing the fact that because she is much smaller than a lot of the girls on the court, she was a little intimidated as well.
Barrett said he sensed their reluctance, but said it was short-lived.
“Meghan maybe played a little bit nervous to start her career. She was slow to come out of her shell and Jade’s season was cut so short (because of an injury). They both contributed quality minutes early on in their career, though,” he said.
The seniors have taken different paths to their successes in their careers. Desroches tore her anterior cruciate ligament in her freshman year, cutting her season short after just seven games. O’Sullivan had to learn the nuances of her position and get used to the size of her competitors. Both players pointed to those examples as their biggest obstacles to come back from. During these times, neither player thought about their moment coming, but it did.
The moment came for O’Sullivan on a Saturday evening on the road against conference foe Thomas College. With 5:16 to go in the first half, Bryanna DuPont fed the ball to O’Sullivan, who made the jump shot for the 1,000th point of her career. Her reaction in one word? “Relief.”
While the game was on the road, her family and friends knew just what to do to make it seem like home.
“My parents drover over seven-and-a-half hours to watch the game,” O’Sullivan said. “My suitemates sent signs up with fans to the game and had “1,000” balloons set up for me when I got back to my room.”
Desroches’ moment came one week later, in a home game against conference opponent Maine Maritime. Also in the first half, Desroches’ 1,000th point came on a layup. Desroches humbly said it was a big relief and that she just wanted to get it out of the way.
Being a home game, the environment was naturally a little different. When the point was announced, the Glenbrook faithful rose up in celebration along with the Castleton bench. Desroches family was in attendance as well to make the moment all the more special.
Moments like those are very rare for players so one might expect them to revel in it and really soak in the environment. For this pair of seniors, though, it was right back into the game itself, tossing individual accolades aside.
“Both players are so unselfish. They have been such quality players with so much success throughout their careers. They were obviously both happy and emotional, excited. But they were both right back to the game. They both value team success over individual success,” Barrett said.
Being the 14th and 15th 1,000-point scorers as well as the winningest pair in Castleton women’s basketball’s storied history is a big accomplishment and both players said they wouldn’t trade in their time at Castleton for anything.
“I have no regrets going to school here. I’m from Vermont so I wanted to stay close to family and friends,” Desroches said.
O’Sullivan echoed that statement.
“Absolutely no regrets at all. I love Castleton and have since I got here as a freshman,” she said.
The Spartans are currently 20-4, sit in first place in the North Atlantic Conference and look poised to make a postseason run. When asked about their plans for this team moving forward, both players have an eye to the future.
“Stay first in the NAC to receive a home playoff game would be huge,” Desroches said.
“To stay in first place in the NAC, get a home playoff game and that’s as far as I’m looking for now” O’Sullivan agreed.
Barrett also has high hopes for this squad. When asked how far the team could go he responded, “Not sure. They have the ability to contend for a conference championship, absolutely. But there’s still room to grow with this team and we need to continue to improve. We haven’t played our best basketball yet.”
That statement is a great sight for Spartan fans and a scary sight for the rest of the NAC. One this is for sure, though, these seniors have not had their last moments in Spartan green.