By Sarah McDonough
Co-Managing and Advertising Editor
For the past four years, the name “Jess Miller” has been a familiar one around Saint Mary’s University. Since her freshman year, she has started in every Woman’s Basketball game she has played, in those games often achieving lead-scorer status among her teammates. But this veteran Cardinal was not expecting what her senior year had in store for her – achieving the 1,000-point milestone of her Saint Mary’s career.
The day was Wednesday, Jan. 12, and the Cardinals were facing MIAC conference team, St. Catherine University. For the previous few weeks, Miller reaching 1,000 points had been the point of conversation for local and MIAC reporters as well as the SMU community including staff, faculty and fellow classmates.
“I was asked all the time, ‘How many points do you have left?’ I was scared and wanted to get it over with. [I] definitely felt a little pressure,” said Miller.
Miller said that with the fear of not reaching the golden number or getting injured in the back of her mind she turned to the advice of her family, teammates and coaching staff. Their overall consensus: dedication naturally rewards itself – a trait Miller said she had been taught since a young age.
“When I was younger my parents ran me around everywhere. Besides for my normal school basketball schedule, I was also involved with a traveling basketball team. It was pretty much all year round and my parents were there, at every game – even throughout college. Their dedication made me want to be more dedicated.”
Despite this, Miller said she did not expect her hard work to pay off so soon.
“I wasn’t even keeping track of what points I needed (at the St. Catherine game), I was focused on working with the team to win the game,” said Miller, “I honestly thought I needed more than (21), so I wasn't really worried about it, and then the closer it got, people kept feeding me the ball.”
The team won the game 76-57, making the experience of achieving 1,000 career points only that much sweeter, said Miller.
“Our next game was in the Twin Cities and my whole family, including my grandparents, aunts and uncles were there. They were all so excited and proud of me,” said Miller.
“Every game I am always so thankful for the support of my family and those that come to the games to cheer our team on.”
Miller looks forward to graduation in May as both an opportunity to see what possible elementary teaching jobs might be available and to give herself a break on keeping up with a basketball regimen.
“A break will be nice because I haven’t known life without it, but I know I would never give it up completely because I would miss it too much,” said Miller.