Former Needham High basketball standout Cerie Mosgrove to participate in 3-Point Championship during Final Four
As a senior captain at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Cerie Mosgrove led the nation in 3-point shooting, connecting on nearly 50-percent of her attempts from beyond the arc.
Her college basketball career, however, is not quite over.
Thursday evening, the former Needham High standout will participate in the 23rd annual State Farm College Slam Dunk and 3-Point Championship in Houston, the site of this Division 1 men's Final Four. Mosgrove is one of eight senior women invited to compete in the 3-point contest at Hofheinz Pavilion, which will be televised on ESPN2 from 9-11 p.m.
``Getting more playing time as a starter this season got me into a rhythm with the 3-point shot and I became more confident as the season went on,’’ said the 6-foot Mosgrove, who made more starts as a senior (30) than her previous three seasons combined (23).
``In past seasons, I was feeling more pressure because if I wasn’t hitting my shot, I would most likely be back on the bench. And starting every game this year also made the other parts of my game better, like rebounding and shooting percentage.’’
Mosgrove, who played center, forward and shooting guard in her four seasons, said a 7-for-9 performance from 3-point land aganst Rhode Island in early January got the ball rolling.
``Things just picked up after that and I was definitely a different player this year than the previous three," she said. "Before, I felt I was just in there to shoot threes and I could be hot or cold and I didn’t end last season with a lot of confidence. And I can also be pretty tough on myself.’’
Mosgrove, however, thrived under new head coach Sharon Dawley , setting program single season records for threes made (78) and attempted (157) while averaging a career-best 13.6 points per game. Her 408 points and 195 rebounds were career highs and she also ranks third all-time for career 3-point field goals made (171) and career 3-point percentage (.390) for the Minutewomen.
``It seems so appropriate that Cerie is in the 3-point contest,’’ said Dawley. ``Her family has told us great stories of when she was young she would not come in at night until she made 75 3's in a row.
"She’s also one of the hardest working student-athletes that I have had the pleasure to work with and the most coachable. Cerie would do anything for our program and I cannot even put into words how much she will be missed.’’
Her 1,002 minutes played this season nearly equaled her time spent on the court as a UMass freshman, sophomore and junior. Last season, she she shot a career low for three's -- .290 (29-for-97).
``I never would have inagined after last season that I would have such a turnaround,’’ added Mosgrove, whose parents, Robin (who played women’s hoop at Whittier College) and Peter, planned to join her in Houston.
``Since I got the news, I’ve been in with our coaching staff to chat and also been working on my shooting. But I’m trying not to over-prepare and not going too far away from my usual routine.
``The best part is the support I’ve had around campus. It’s just a great ending to my college career and a surprise honor and an accomplishment. It makes all the time practicing those threes so worthwhile.’’