By Bridget Walsh
Although the winter sports season is far from over, the DeSales men’s and women’s basketball programs have broken records and reached milestones. Senior Morgan McCollian has surpassed 1,000 career points, head coach Fred Richter won his 500th game and senior Brian Laird netted the 195th three pointer of his career.
Coming into the ’16-’17 season, senior Morgan McCollian of the DeSales women’s basketball team was just three points shy of becoming the 22nd member of the program’s 1,000 point club. En route to an 84-59 victory in the season opener at Immaculata University, McCollian netted the milestone early in the first quarter as the bulldogs came out to a strong start.
“I didn’t expect that I was actually going to get 1,000 points,” said McCollian of her milestone. “As a freshman, I barely played. I worked all year round, preseason and postseason, and worked on my own just to play and improve my game. To get that milestone at the beginning of my senior year felt really good.”
For the remainder of the season, McCollian’s goals for herself and the team is to reach the MAC Freedom Championship and the NCAA tournament.
“I’ve been in three championships and have yet to win one,” said McCollian. “This year would be my fourth, and winning that and getting into the NCAA’s are definitely goals our team has.”
DeSales women’s basketball head coach Fred Richter has just become the 29th coach in NCAA Division III history to surpass the milestone. Throughout his career, Richter has led the bulldogs to 13 20+ win seasons, 19 straight postseason appearances and 6 MAC Freedom championships.
The win came before the winter break on Dec. 5 against non-conference competitor Gwynedd Mercy University where the bulldogs pulled out a 52-43 victory at home.
“To be perfectly frank, this record isn’t that important to me,” said Richter. “It’s just a number, and I don’t do this for the numbers. I do this for the people.”
The Bulldogs are looking to continue their success on the court. As of Jan. 25, they stand alone in second place in conference play with a record of 6-1 with their lone loss coming to conference rival FDU-Florham.
On Jan. 4, the DeSales men’s basketball team opened up conference play, rolling past Eastern University. During the game, senior Brian Laird hit four 3’s including the 195th of his career, which surpasses current assistant coach Darnell Braswell for the school’s all time record.
“It’s a whole team accomplishment,” said Laird of the milestone. “This isn’t just for me because my teammates are the ones passing me the ball. Passing my assistant coach Darnell Braswell was funny, but he was happy for me.”
Achieving such an milestone took a lot of repetition and the famous line of “practice makes perfect.” As the team has reached the midpoint of conference play, Laird and the rest of the team are focused on the future and the goals they have set for themselves.
“This record was never on my radar,” said Laird. “I just came in trying to play the best that I can, and it’s really cool that it happened. Personally, for the rest of the season, I’m concerned with team goals. Hopefully we can make the playoffs and win a MAC championship and make the NCAA tournament.”
Currently, the Bulldogs are struggling in conference action. They are looking to improve their record as they approach the last seven games of the regular season.