When freshman forward Kelsey Wood was younger, basketball was not her primary sport. Rather, she took her talents to the softball field as a first basemen before moving over the hardwood.
“That was like sixth or seventh grade. For me, I realized that I needed more of a higher end sport with more activity,” said Wood.
Safe to say it was the right move.
Wood, a 6’1 forward from Wynantskill, N.Y. quickly began to excel at the high school level, playing on varsity as an eighth grader, but that was just the beginning.
When it was all said and done, Wood became the second all-time scorer in her high school, Averill Park’s, history and became the third player in the school’s history to surpass 1,000 career points.
It wasn’t until after her sophomore year of high school that Wood was realizing her dream of playing basketball at the next level was becoming a reality. In the summer prior to her junior season, colleges started calling and taking interest in Wood. One of those coaches was Sacred Heart’s Jessica Mannetti.
One of the main points of emphasis for Wood was going to a school where she could play immediately. During that same summer, she got a call from Mannetti that would make her college choice much easier.
“I got a phone call and they said that they were stopping their recruitment and they weren’t going to offer any other posts because they wanted me that bad,” said Wood. “It all came together, it was perfect.”
Prior to her senior season, Wood officially committed to the Pioneers, choosing them over Manhattan and Lafayette. Wood added that along with the phone call, her first visit to campus had an instant feel of a second home.
Now just four games into her college basketball career, she appears to have begun to carve out a role within the Sacred Heart program.
In just under 17 minutes per game, Wood has averaged 6.5 points per contest while leading the team with 5.8 rebounds a night. She is second on the team with a 65% shooting clip.
According to Mannetti, two of the biggest qualities that drew her to Wood was her high energy motor along with her versatility to stretch the floor with her shooting. One of the first players Mannetti compared her to was former Sacred Heart standout Katherine Haines, who scored over 1,200 points and is fourth in program history in blocks.
Wood was certainly aware of Haines’ accomplishment’s as a Pioneer.
“I am very familiar with her,” said Wood with an ear to ear grin.
While the bar is set high with that comparison, Wood expects a lot out of herself, regardless of the amount of time she has on the court.
“There are two older posts in front of me, so I will have to work hard for playing time. It may not come easy, but I still have high expectation for myself. Hopefully I can give what they need from me, whether it’s rebounding, energy on the bench, I’m ready to give.”
Sacred Heart (1-3) looks to build onto their 1-1 conference record when they host Wagner for a pair of games Thursday and Friday.