Four hundred and ninety ... and counting

March 01, 2014

Wilmington Town Crier

Just over 14 months ago, Michelle Woods sat on a bench outside the Larry Cushing Gymnasium during an interview as she was named the 2012 Town Crier Female Athlete of the Year.

She was awaiting a start to a new basketball season as a senior at WHS, she had her future already planned out. She wanted to go to college to play basketball and perhaps even tennis, and she wanted to earn a degree in elementary education. At that time she had been accepted to Wheelock College, had applied to four other schools and had yet to decide where she would attend college.

By the end of the high school basketball season, Woods helped lead the Wildcats to another successful state tournament run. She was a very good player on a very successful program, and by the time the team lost to Reading she had decided that she would be attending Wheelock College, a very small college in Boston, to study to become a teacher and to continue to play basketball.

"When I had applied to Wheelock and watched the basketball team play, I realized that they didn't have a strong program," she said. "That was part of the challenge for not only me but for the other incoming players to see if we could change the program."

And girl has she ever.

Woods has compiled 490 points during the regular season playing for the Division 3 program out of the New England Collegiate Conference. Yes, that's right 490 points. She is halfway to the 1,000 point plateau and she hasn't completed her freshman season yet.

Her 490 points broke the program's record for a freshman player and she currently ranks eighth in scoring in the program's history.

Wheelock College started out in 1995-'96 playing just a handful of games before becoming a legitimate program in the 1998-'99 season. Before this season, the Wildcats had never had a winning season, had a combined record of 59-347, went through ten coaches and played in two different leagues. The previous time the team made the playoffs was back in 2001-'02 when it finished 0-14 and automatically qualified as the last seed.

On Tuesday night, the Wildcats enter the NECC tournament as the No. 7 seed and will face the No. 2 seed Elms College in the quarterfinal round.

This 2013-'14 season has been historical for Wheelock, matching the school record for victories with a 6-19 mark, including 5-13 in league play. The team has set school records for points (1,529), field goals made (537), field goal percentage (.343, 537-1566), free throws made (364), rebounds (1,153), assists (311) and blocked shots (83) this year.

So much of that is due to the play of Woods.

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