When Megan Phelps first visited Bowdoin College, she immediately felt a connection with the small, intimate campus the prestigious institution in Brunswick offers.
The fact that the school has a reputation as a women’s basketball power didn’t hurt either.
“I really like the way their practices are set up,” said the Mount Desert Island senior forward, who will play basketball for coach Adrienne Shibles’ Polar Bears next winter.
“They’re all so intense and into it and you could see that (Shibles) was into it,” Phelps added.
Phelps had also considered Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, but decided that Bowdoin was the perfect fit for her.
“I really like the fact that if my parents wanted to come down and see me they wouldn’t have to travel, but I’m far enough from home where I’m actually doing the college thing,” Phelps said.
Phelps had an outstanding high school career at MDI, leading the Trojans to three tournament appearances, including a trip to the Class B regional final her junior season.
This winter, she became the seventh person in the history of MDI’s program to reach the 1,000-point plateau, and she earned Big East Player of the Year honors twice.
Phelps averaged 16 points and 13 rebounds per game as a senior, and was also named an all-conference scholar-athlete and an honorable mention choice on the BDN’s All-Maine team.
Also a standout in volleyball at MDI, Phelps was a four-year starter for the Trojans and a 2010 All-State selection.
Phelps plans to take on a rigorous legal studies program at Bowdoin with a dream of attending law school one day.
The 6-footer showed tremendous versatility while playing at MDI with an uncanny ability to take on bigger defenders in the paint and step back and hit jump shots.
But those challenges will be tougher at the college level.
“I definitely know I need to get quicker and I need to work on just strength in general,” she said. “Coach Shibles mentioned that to me. That’s what I’m going to be working on between now and September.”
Phelps also knows that the college game is a lot more physical.
“I’m just going to have to prepare myself for that,” she said.
Phelps joins a Bowdoin squad that reached the third round of the NCAA Division III tournament before falling to Babson College.
The Polar Bears only graduate two players from that team, and among the returning players is former Bangor High standout Amy Hackett.
“From when I talked to the girls and coach, it sounds like all their games are pretty intense so I’m excited,” Phelps said. “It has such a good reputation.”
Norton to play at UMaine
Kaitlin Norton, who helped lead South Portland to the Class A state softball championship last spring, recently signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her career at the University of Maine.
Norton, a catcher for the Red Riots, had also considered Belmont, Tennessee-Chattanooga and Wagner before signing with the Black Bears.
Norton’s clutch hitting was huge for South Portland in the postseason last year as she drove in the only run in the Red Riots’ 1-0 state championship victory over Bangor.