(PRESQUE ISLE, ME) -- You see it in many basketball gyms this time of year. Playing in the last game either on the home court or of the season, a head coach will take out a senior star player, to give them a chance to be acknowledged by teammates and fans. It is usually an emotional moment as the senior finally is forced to come to grips with the fact that it will be the last time they take the court with their jersey on.
That moment did not happen for senior Emily Pelletier (Sr./Fort Kent, ME) on February 12th, as the UMaine-Presque Isle Owls were finishing up their season at Bates College.
"This was the conversation," remembers Owls' head coach Marc Heidorf, "there's a minute or so left and they (Bates) are shooting a free throw. She's at mid-court and I yell 'Em!' and motion to her in a way that asks her if she would like to come out. She responds by waving me off as if to say 'I got this, coach'. That was it. With all that she has done for this school, this program, and especially this year's team, as far as I was concerned, she earned the right to walk off the court in whatever manner she chose."
With the season over and her collegiate career in the rear-view mirror, the 1026-career point scorer sat down to reflect back on her four years as an Owl:
Take us through, from your perspective, the shot that gave you the 1000-career point milestone (vs. College of St. Joseph's on 2-10-13)?
Emily Pelletier: I do remember Jessica Campbell driving and dishing to me on the right wing behind the 3-point line. I took the shot and then the buzzer rang and the refs blew their whistles. I started running towards the bench because I thought someone had called timeout. Coached looked at me and said "I didn't call timeout that was your 1000th point." I turned around towards the crowd and my friends and family were all standing up clapping. I was incredibly surprised. College of St. Joe's in Vermont presented me with the game ball and we went on with the game.
Now that the season is over and you have a little time to reflect, what does reaching 1000 points mean to you as you look back on your career at Presque Isle?
EP: Reaching my 1000th point was incredibly humbling, I didn't think I was even close. It just shows that I have played with some great teams and for some great coaches. I would never have been able to reach this type of milestone without teammates and coaches to back me up.
Four years as a starter, that is a lot of basketball. Are there games and/or shots that stick out in your mind as you reminisce about the teams you played on?
EP: My sophomore year we were playing a team in a tournament in Connecticut, I can't seem to recall the name of the school. We were down by 2 with about 5 seconds left. We took the ball out of bounds under our basket and Coach ran a play for me. Instead of catching it short corner, which is where the play usually ends up, I stepped back for the 3. The pass came in and I shot the ball to put us up by 1 with about 4 seconds left we got into our press and ended up playing good defense to win the game. (Editor's Note: Our crack research department tells us that this game was against Lasall University. The Owls won 53-52)
Another game that sticks out to me was the Fort Kent game my Junior year. This game was played at home and it went into triple overtime, we didn't end up winning that game, but it was probably one of the most, if not the most, exciting game I have ever been a part of.
The third shot that sticks with me, is a shot against Thomas this past year. We were down by one with about 11 seconds to go and I knew that the ball was coming to me. We ran the play perfectly and I came off a double staggered screen stepped back and hit the 3. Now we were up by 2 and just had to play good defense. The team worked together and we got the win!
As the leading returning scorer this season, you were the focal point of a lot of opposing defenses. How did that affect (if at all) your offensive approach this season?
EP: This did affect my offensive approach this season, but I am used to it. This was not the first time that I have been face guarded, so I have learned how to play with someone on me all the time. I ended up setting a lot of screens for my teammates and I had to attack the basket more often. I knew that when I caught the ball the opposing player was going to fly out on me so I had the opportunity to drive.
What are some of your favorite memories that you have from your career as an Owl?
EP: I will always remember my first game as an UMPI Owl, it was against UMF and it was just a physical game and a lot of fun. Most of my memories come from off the court when we were traveling. When you sit in a bus or a van with a bunch of girls for 10 hours something is bound to happen. I remember one trip quoting the whole "Finding Nemo" movie as a team. We went on a little tour at Bowdoin, which was cool. I got to go see a UCONN practice with my team, this was a dream come true! The triple overtime game against our rival UMFK, double overtime against SMCC, and the Thomas game will always be great memories. Going to the Sunrise Conference tournament my first 2 years. All of these things are great memories and there are many more.