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Cerie Mosgrove a critical teammate

In sports, many people usually associate a team’s identity with a few key players.

These athletes use their successes to support a team in its best times and defend it in its worst. These men and women are everything that a franchise works to be, from their on-court performances to their off-court mannerisms in everyday life.

For the Massachusetts women’s basketball team, senior guard Cerie Mosgrove certainly comes to mind as a critical teammate.

In the Minutewomen’s (6-17, 2-4 Atlantic 10) game against conference opponent Duquesne (19-3, 6-1 A-10) on Wednesday night at the Mullins Center, a 84-79 loss in overtime, Mosgrove lead the way with 21 points and 13 rebounds, both career-highs. The performance marked the sixth double-double of the season for Mosgrove, and yet these were not her highlights of the night.

In the course of the match, Mosgrove went 5-for-9 from beyond the arc. The fact that makes the statistic all the more memorable is that they turned out to be the number needed to break the UMass women’s basketball record for the most 3-pointers in a single season.

The previous record of 58, last tied by freshman Kristina Danella in 2009 before her transfer, is now replaced with Cerie’s 60 completions with six games left in the season.

Mosgrove’s current season average is 2.6 3-pointers a game, and if that stays consistent, the record total could look to sit at around 80, a truly impressive mark by anyone’s standards.

Her presence on the team, however, does not simply end with her performance from beyond the arc.

“Cerie is an extremely unselfish player and she puts the team first, always,” Assistant Head Coach Steve Lanpher said. “She doesn’t want acknowledgement for what she does, but for what her entire team does. [Wednesday] night she knew she had broken the record, but she was more upset with the result of her team losing the game, and I think that shows the kind of character she has.”

Mosgrove has certainly established herself as a marquee player throughout her career here at UMass.

From her early days on the team, she showed an uncanny scoring ability that gradually earned her more and more playing time as she grew. Though she did not start any games as a freshman, she gradually saw more and more playing time throughout the season. She would end up starting 11 games as a sophomore and 12 as a junior before earning the nod in all 23 of the games thus far this season.

In her career, she is in the top 10 in UMass history in 3-pointers made, attempted and completion percentage.

What stats do not show, though, is the kind of impact a player like Mosgrove has on the overall health and development of the team.

“Her ability to be an inside-outside player has been key this season,” Lanpher said. “We tend to work well with her strengths. She is an excellent player who leads by example and has become much more vocal this season. She is great at teaching the younger players how to prepare for games and she has been one of my favorite players that I have ever had the opportunity of coaching.”

With the kind of abilities and work ethic that Mosgrove brings to the team day in and day out, it’s really no surprise that she can be expected to lead the team to success in the remaining weeks of the schedule.

David Martin can be reached at dmmartin@student.umass.edu.

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