Every athlete wants to have a memorable senior year and Kelly Fogarty is no different.
But this season got off to a nightmarish start for the University of Maine women’s basketball guard.
The 3-point shooting specialist from Walpole, Massachusetts, has been a streaky shooter throughout her career, but nothing like her struggles during the first five-plus games this winter.
Fogarty missed 24 of her first 25 shots from the 3-point arc.
“I was pretty mad because I wasn’t helping the team. I needed to step up,” she said. “I had never shot that poorly in my life. I didn’t know how I was going to get out of it.”
As quickly as her shooting touch disappeared, she rediscovered it again.
Fogarty nailed three consecutive 3-pointers on Jan. 2 in a 58-57 loss at New Hampshire, then knocked down a school-record 10 of 17 attempts in Sunday’s 76-56 triumph over the Wildcats.
She finished with 30 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
The 5-foot-9 Fogarty said it felt good to break her previous record of nine 3-pointers set Dec. 4, 2019, in a win over Division III Husson University of Bangor.
“I was able to hit those shots for the team,” she said, downplaying the record.
Fogarty hopes to stay hot when the 6-1 Black Bears (3-1 in America East) finally get to play at home. They entertain league newcomer New Jersey Institute of Technology (2-8, 2-4 AE) at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Memorial Gym in Orono.
Fogarty has trouble explaining her early shooting woes, saying she had been shooting well at practice. She put in some extra time with assistant coach and former teammate Parise Rossignol, focusing primarily on her footwork.
However, her resurgence can be attributed to a mental adjustment. She was boosted by the confidence shown in her by head coach Amy Vachon, who kept her in the game in the fourth quarter of the Jan. 2 loss.
Hitting the three 3-pointers gave her some confidence to take into Sunday’s rematch.
“I felt more like myself,” she said.
Fogarty’s ability to hit threes and other perimeter jump shots is important for UMaine.
“That’s what we do,” Fogarty said of the Black Bears’ reliance on long-distance scoring.
It also opens up the inside game for teammates like Maeve Carroll and Fanny Wadling.
Fogarty continues to work on the other aspects of her game, including defense, positioning and boxing out, to ensure that she is contributing even when her shots aren’t falling.
Any pressure she might feel to produce is tempered by the fact UMaine has several other players who can score in outside shooters Blanca Millan, Dor Saar and Anne Simon, and forwards Carroll and Wadling.
“If I’m open, I’ll take the shot,” she said.
Fogarty took on a more important role last season when the Black Bears were ravaged by injuries. She responded with a career-high 7.1 points per game.
Her 34.9 shooting percentage beyond the 3-point arc was third best in the conference and her 2.1 threes per game ranked fifth.
In Fogarty’s career, a staggering 90 percent of her shots have come from the 3-point arc, where she has connected at 33.2 percent (125-for-376).
She made a school-record 245 threes in her career at Walpole High School.
Fogarty said the team is excited to finally be playing at home.