Skidmore College senior guard/forward Kelly Donnelly just wrapped up a record-breaking basketball career with the Thoroughbreds. In her four years on campus, Donnelly became the program’s all-time leading scorer (1,823 points), the first player to make more than 1,000 rebounds, and the holder of the single-season scoring record (543 points). The Exercise Science major is a three-time All-American, a preseason All-American, a three-time All East Region First Team player and three-time Player of the Year. She finished off her college career by leading her team to victory in the Liberty League Championships.
“I absolutely love the sport,” Donnelly says. “I love the opportunities it’s given me.” As there’s no “i” in team, she’s a big fan of her team and its coaches, too. “They’re my best friends on and off the court. I wouldn’t have wanted to share these past four years with anyone else.” And when asked about the secret to her success, Donnelly’s quick to share the credit: “I was fortunate enough to have great coaches all around in high school, so they definitely are a large part of the reason I was able to play at Skidmore,” she tells me. “Once I got to Skidmore, it was only up from there. I learned so much more about my game and the game in general, and that is again, thanks to great coaches.”
“The kid is amazing,” says Darren Bennett, Skidmore Women’s Basketball’s Head Coach. “She goes to class and she loves sports. She’s studious, polite and a great person to be around.” Bennett says Donnelly stands out for her capacity to address her weaknesses and make deliberate improvements. “During end-of-year meetings, the conversation would be a review of the season and what we challenged her to do and become as a person and a player for the next season. And sure enough, that is who and what she became during the following year.”
While she can certainly thank her supporting cast for helping become a great all-around player, it’s also had a lot to do with her own personal drive to succeed on the court. “I think my greatest strength as a player is my competitiveness and desire to win, along with some athleticism and ability to jump,” Donnelly says. “My greatest weakness is definitely handling my emotions. Although I’ve made a lot of progress in that regard, I still get frustrated and lose my head a little.” Head Coach Bennett concurs. “It never held her back in the grand scheme of things, but her biggest area of growth to me has without a doubt been in her own head—to change her emotions into something positive that would benefit her play and our team’s results,” he says. “She did that to the tune of almost 2,000 career points and over 1,000 rebounds. I’m as proud of her as a person and player as I would be for my own daughter.”
Donnelly, who’s a senior and set to graduate on May 19, looks back fondly on her time at Skidmore: “I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”