SPRINGFIELD — Alex Goslin sprinted up the court, took one step left, then dodged Westfield State’s Taina Slaughter, as she lofted the ball softly off the glass and into the basket.
It wasn’t a dramatic or flashy shot. It’s one she’s taken thousands of times.
However, this layup was different: it was her 1,000th point.
Blake Arena erupted Friday night, with fans from both bleachers jumping up to their feet, holding up paper signs that read “1,000.” Goslin broke into a smile, realizing she had just become the 16th player in program history to earn 1,000 points.
“It was really surreal,” Goslin said. “I’m so glad that it happened in Blake Arena, because we practice in there every day, this is like our home and we’re so comfortable on this court.”
“And to be able to share this moment with all the fans that support us for every home game and just the people that are behind our whole team, it felt really awesome to have everyone there be a part of it, because that’s part of the memory,” she added. “It’s not just about the points, it’s about the people that are alongside me.”
Women’s basketball head coach Naomi Graves knows how important all those connections are to Goslin, and made sure she would be able to celebrate with her teammates. After putting up 9 points in the first quarter, Goslin was only 11 way from her 1,000th, and Graves began planning ahead.
“It was really important that I had a timeout, because in college, you don’t get to do what you can do in high school. You have to use a timeout, or they just play the dead ball they announce it,” Graves explained. “But I didn’t want that for her. I wanted her team to circle up and hug her. I wanted her to feel the love in the gym, and I’m so happy it happened in Blake. It was an emotional moment for a kid who deserves it.”
The moment Graves called the timeout, Goslin’s teammates flooded the court and swarmed the 5-foot South Windsor native with hugs. Blake Arena surged with cheers for a second time, as the roar held strong until the timeout ended.
In addition to her family, there were two familiar faces in the crowd, who both knew what it’s like to wear THE jersey: Ava Adamopoulos (’17) and Heather King (’18). After playing with Goslin when she first became a member of the Posse, the two knew how important it was to be there for this milestone, and it meant the world to Goslin.
“Knowing that they are still so supportive of our team even though they’re not there every day with us, that just shows you how deep Posse is,” she said. “I’m glad that I got to share this moment with them too, because they’re a part of it. I wouldn’t be where I was without them. I played with them and they helped me get to this point and Posse is forever, so that is just a great demonstration of that.”
In addition to teammates, both former and current, there is one individual who has also played a vital role in Goslin’s growth: Graves. And right from the moment she began the recruiting Goslin, Graves knew she didn’t only want her because of skill.
Goslin had a clear passion, and Graves wanted to be a part of it.
“By the time I saw her in high school, I wanted to be her coach. I feel honored and privileged to be able to have been a part of her journey,” Graves said. “It’s a privilege to coach all my athletes, it’s an honor, it’s a privilege. And to have a talent like Alex, on and off the court, I mean it’s just, it’s like I’m a parent, a pseudo parent. I watched her do that!”
“And I think Alex is going to pass it on,” Graves later added. “The advice I once had from a coach was, I’d be thanking them for all they did for me, and they’re like, ‘Don’t thank me, just pass it on,’ and Alex is going to pass it on. She’s going to give it back to some young female somewhere, some place somehow, and she’ll pass it on, all the things people have given her.”
Goslin is now ranked No. 14 overall in program history for career-points with a total of 1,006. Though, that number will only continue to climb as the season progresses and the Pride begin NEWMAC play.
“She’s part of the elite group that’s played for me the last 29 years and she joins that group of women who have all the quality traits that she has – the heart, the passion, the pride to wear the uniform and basically the overall skill to get it done.
“I’m really proud of her and we love her and we want her to continue to excel, because we want to head to the NEWMACs. That would be the icing on the cake for her as a senior and the senior group, so I’m really excited for Alex that she’s in that group of women with the 1,000th point club.”
In Friday night’s 106-62 victory, Goslin had a career-night with 26 points. But for her, it’s never been about the statistics.
It’s about the team — even when she hits 1,000 points.
“You could just feel the connection on the floor, and I think that was the best part about tonight, despite everything else, that was the best part,” Goslin said.