Exclusive membership just 13 points away

Sophomore guard Emily Fox has 262 career points, second on the team.

Paul Cordes

The group of 1,000-point scorers in Minnesota women’s basketball history is about to add one more to the club.

Senior guard Kelly Roysland needs 13 points to reach 1,000, which would make her the 17th player in Gopher history to reach the mark.

Roysland said she’s been so focused on the season that she hadn’t even been keeping track of her career totals and had no idea she was getting close to 1,000 until a teammate brought it up.

“I hadn’t thought about it until a game or two ago when someone brought it up to me,” she said. “I just think it’s a cool milestone, and it’s nice for people to recognize you and the contributions you’ve been able to give to the team.”

Her contributions started as early as her freshman year when she stepped in for an injured Lindsay Whalen.

During that stint, Roysland started seven games and averaged 8.4 points per game. She said that was a time Whalen paid special attention to the way Roysland played and helped her to grow as a young player.

“(Whalen) really took me under her wing and helped me out any way she could,” Roysland said. “She really made it a point the whole time she and I were at Minnesota together to teach me the ropes and look out for me to make sure I was doing the right thing and headed in the right direction.”

Whalen is currently playing in Russia for the EuroLeague Women and was unavailable for comment, but coach Pam Borton said it isn’t surprising that Roysland is approaching the mark after playing with some of the players she has while with the Gophers.

This year, however, Roysland’s role has been reversed as she is the only senior on the team and has become a role model for so many of the young players that decorate Minnesota’s roster.

With seven freshmen and almost no previous college playing experience in the lineup, Roysland has been forced to make big plays and be a leader on the floor, and Borton said that is exactly what she expects of her seniors.

“Seniors are supposed to step up and hit big shots, and seniors are supposed to make big plays,” she said. “Kelly’s done a great job getting everybody on the team involved this year and has been extremely consistent for us game in and game out.”

Sophomore guard Emily Fox, whose 262 career points are the next highest among active players, has seen firsthand what Roysland has brought to the team and she said it hasn’t been limited to just scoring.

Although Roysland’s 14.8 points per game, 39 three-pointers and 296 points this season are all team bests, Fox said she respects Roysland not just as a basketball player but as a person.

“With everything she’s been through and all the hard work that she’s put in the past four years, I think this is really going to be a payoff for her,” Fox said. “She’s done a lot of great things and this is a great accomplishment for her.”

There are two games this week for Roysland to reach the mark and considering her lowest scoring output this season has been seven points, it’s doubtful she’ll need many more opportunities.

“When I came in to Minnesota, I just wanted to play and let things take their course,” she said. “This will be something I can remember for a long time and it’ll be something I can look back on and be proud of.”