In her first season, she started 26 of 27 games, led the Smith Pioneers basketball team in scoring (12.1 points per game) and rebounding (6.8 per game). She scored in double figures 18 times. She ranked tenth in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) in both scoring and rebounding. And when she stepped to the free-throw line, she shot 85.1 percent, the highest mark in the league.
Partly for these achievements, Rosa Drummond ’14 was named the NEWMAC Rookie of the Year, the first such honor for a Smith basketball player.
Beyond Drummond’s impressive statistics, it’s the first-year player’s versatility that her coach appreciates most. “She’s a 6-foot post player who led us in 3-point perimeter shooting!” exclaims Lynn Hersey, head basketball coach, who guided her team to the NEWMAC championship game in February. “She was a force defensively and offensively.”
If you ask Drummond, she will likely credit her teammates for her success in her first season. “The biggest part of my receiving this award was our team,” she says. “It is impossible to become a better athlete without your teammates pushing you and beating you, so I think the nature of our team was the biggest factor in my recognition.”
Hersey knew she had a special player when she recruited Drummond. “Consistency and composure,” she says, “those are the two key words that come to mind when I think of Rosa and her performance. She very rarely had peaks and troughs in her game. She just maintained a high standard of outstanding performance, day in and day out. Normally, you don’t see that in a young player.”
The Basketball NEWMAC Rookie of the Year award is a huge achievement for Smith, says Lynn Oberbillig, director of athletics. “Smith athletics has had several other Rookie of the Year winners but never one in basketball,” she explains. “The fact that Rosa won this award meant that the other coaches in the conference recognized her importance to our team, but also, more notably, that our team was good enough to have a Rookie of the Year.”
Drummond was also named to the NEWMAC All-Conference Second team, and recently received the New England Women’s Basketball Association (NEWBA) and ECAC New England Rookie of the Year awards.
Despite the honors and attention, Drummond keeps sports in perspective. “I play sports to have fun,” she says, “and I always try my best. It is a privilege to play basketball at the college level, and I want to make the most of it.”
“She’s a very quiet worker,” Hersey says of her rookie star. “She’s humble and doesn’t like the showy part of the game.”
For Drummond, the principles of competitive sports go beyond the gym. “I link working hard on the court to working hard in the classroom,” she says. “If I am not going to give 100 percent effort, then there is no reason for me to do it.”
She knows she will need such discipline to succeed as a neuroscience major and in a medical career. “I have recently decided to go pre-med,” she says. “I would like to become a doctor and practice in areas with high poverty rates that do not have a lot of good medical care.”
There is no doubt, however, that basketball and the teamwork it involves bring out her innate talents. Though her technical skills made her a huge asset to her team, Drummond was more than just a scoring machine, Hersey emphasizes. “Off the court, she’s very laidback, has a great sense of humor, and gets along extremely well with every single player on the team,” she says.
Oberbillig is optimistic that Drummond’s presence on the team and the recognition she has already received as a first year is only the beginning of good things for Smith basketball.
“The team had only one senior and two juniors with the rest being sophomores and first-years,” she says of this season’s strong team. “This year they played in the championship game. Next year, they have a real chance at winning that championship game and going to the NCAA tournament. That would be a first for Smith basketball.”