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Monday, February 18, 2013

Final chapter closing for DWC’s Bosques

Tom King

This week it could all come to a sudden end, and that will be a shame.

It’s local college conference tournament week, and that means that every time Daniel Webster College senior scoring sensation Vanessa Bosques takes the gym floor, it could be for the last time as an Eagle. ...

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This week it could all come to a sudden end, and that will be a shame.

It’s local college conference tournament week, and that means that every time Daniel Webster College senior scoring sensation Vanessa Bosques takes the gym floor, it could be for the last time as an Eagle.

There’s no doubt a goodbye for Bosques, the school’s all-time leading scorer for both women’s and men’s basketball, will come sooner than later. The New England Collegiate Conference finals are this weekend, and if the Eagles can win that tourney, they’ll go to the NCAAs at the end of the month.

“It’s all or nothing,” she said. “I’m going to just go out there and do whatever I can. I don’t want (any tourney game) to be my last, but if it is, then I know I went out there and played the best I could play. And went out with a hurrah.”

The NCAA tourney would be a fitting way for Bosques to end her career, because remember, she could’ve said so long earlier, after she blew out her knee in the fall of 2011. But she went for the medical waiver that gave her another year of eligibility. One little known fact is she almost decided to use her last year of eligibility to play for the coach who recruited her to DWC, Adelphi’s Heather Jacobs, but decided against it.

Good thing. Bosques was meant to be an Eagle. She honed her skills here, a lot of hard work over the course of five years and three coaches.

“In my heart, it was to stay here,” she said. “It was very close, but I love the people here, this is where I was comfortable, like my home.”

She might have questioned that early in the year, when the Eagles were floundering, lacking bodies but they got some players back, picked up a couple more, and are now one of the NECC’s better teams heading into the postseason.

Of course, the big reason remains Bosques, because she is the conference’s leading scorer at 21 points a game and is certainly the top candidate for NECC Player of the Year, which would give the school a clean four-year sweep of the award.

But when it comes to scoring, no Eagle has done it better for either gender, as she is at the 1,700-point level.

“I’m proud of myself,” she said. “It feels good I put my name up there. That shows my hard work. The hours I put into the gym, hours I put into preseason, and even the season, it feels really good.”

She stopped thinking about the injury, she said, after she took off her knee brace the second week of practice. And now she hopes to float to the postseason.

“I remember that day,” Bosques said of the team’s trip to the NCAA tourney two years ago in western New York. “I remember traveling, receiving our little plaque that said “NCAA.” I’ll never forget that. ... It was a dream come true, most teams don’t get to go.”

Sometimes we forget how important and all-encompassing the game is to these young collegiate athletes, how they have to juggle other things in their lives, good and bad, to make the commitment that Bosques did over the five years. Besides the knee injury, last spring Bosques dealt with the death of her grandmother, with whom she was extremely close.

“I overcame an injury, I graduated college, first out of my family, first of my family going for my masters,” she said. “It wasn’t easy.”

So it’s time to pay tribute to a true warrior of the court. DWC assistant athletic director Ken Belbin notably calls women’s hoops in the city colleges (Rivier also) a “well-kept secret.”

“The women’s basketball program will be very different without Vanessa around,” Eagles head coach MaryLynn Skarzenski said. “Even last year when she couldn’t play, she brought something to the program, she was part of the team, part of the bench. So it’s going to be very different for everyone on this team next year.”

“I can’t believe how fast the season has gone by,” Bosques said. “It’s playoffs. And then it’s over. ... I don’t have another year coming up, and that’s actually very sad.

“I’m going to miss it a lot.”

Area basketball fans, if they got a chance to see her play, should miss Bosques just as much. It will likely be a while before another player like her comes along.

Tom King can be reached at 594-6468 or tking@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow King on Twitter (@Telegraph_TomK).