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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Instant Impact

Photo+by+Kevin+Ham%0A

Photo by Kevin Ham

Kirsten Morrison was finishing up her high school basketball career at this time last year in North Reading, Mass. In the 365 days since then, she played her senior season of softball, was a star for the top 25 Beacon volleyball team, and has been by far the best player for the Lady Beacons. Not bad for halfway through her freshman year.

Morrison has been a force this year for UMass. She has the team lead in scoring average (16.3 PPG) and rebounds (10.0 RPG), and has played in all but one game this year. It’s amazing that she was able to transition so quickly from volleyball to basketball, because the two sports require different conditioning and practice regimens. She explained, “The transition from volleyball to basketball was a little difficult. Being in volleyball shape and being in basketball shape are two totally different things. I had to get into running shape when it came to basketball; I wasn’t used to running up and down the court, so I had to get my lungs behind me.” That seemed to happen pretty fast, because from the start of the year it was obvious that the 6 foot 2 center would be a lot for opponents to handle, and that is why she has averaged a double double this year.

This fantastic season almost never happened for Morrison: she was a walk-on for basketball. As she related, “I wasn’t really expecting to play basketball at all when I came to UMass. I was planning on trying out for softball instead. I was talking to the softball coach a little bit and told her I was interested. But by the end of volleyball season, my roommates and Molly Rattigan [who also plays volleyball] helped persuade me to play basketball. I realized that basketball would be easier since volleyball is in the spring, too, and I’ve been playing it since second grade.”

It’s a good thing that Morrison decided to go with basketball, and she was rewarded for her decision with the LEC rookie-of-the-week award for the week of Feb. 5-12. Over that week, she dominated the conference with 23.5 PPG and 14.5 RPG, as well as making a bodacious 50 percent of her field goals. This success has led to Kirsten emerging as a leader for the Ladies, despite this being her rookie season. She said, “I believe that I’ve been able to step up and be a leader. At practice and on the court I try to make everyone laugh but be serious at the same time. Our team is very young so we all have to push each other, and I try to set the tempo high when it comes to game time. Although this season isn’t over yet, I know the years to come will be better as we grow and come together as a team.”

Morrison touched on the fact that the team is loaded with freshmen and sophomores who could make a big impact in years to come, so although the Ladies have been struggling this year, they have a very bright future ahead of them. With Morrison leading the way, the basketball team could turn into a massive success, and they’ll be anchored there for another three years.