Elmore’s 1,000 points a reflection of determination to succeed in the face of adversity

Senior forward Desiree Elmore is now a member of the 1,000-point club. 

In her final home game as a Pirate, Elmore broke the millenary point threshold in Seton Hall’s win over Providence and recorded a double-double with game-highs of 23 points and 12 rebounds.

Elmore’s path to reaching the milestone in her collegiate basketball career did not come easy though. Before arriving at Seton Hall, Elmore was a five-star recruit at Syracuse and seen as the crown jewel of head coach Quentin Hillsman’s recruiting class. Though she saw minutes off the bench her freshman season with the Orange, a head injury midway through the season and a tough transitional period to the college level didn’t make for a banner first year.

Improvement was expected and thought to be coming for Elmore in her sophomore year, but a late preseason injury derailed those plans completely. She was forced to sit out for the entirety of the 2017-18 season as a redshirt, and that pathway to becoming a key player for her college team—let alone reach 1,000 points—started to get a little hazy.

That’s when Seton Hall came into the picture.

Photo via SHU Athletics

Elmore entered the college transfer portal ahead of the 2018-19 season, and head coach Anthony Bozzella took a gamble on the raw potential he knew she possessed. While she continued to feature as a rotation piece for the Pirates in her first season, Elmore led all Big East primary subs with 10.3 points per game.

Two years later, Elmore is now a centerpiece of Bozzella’s team and was named to the 2020-21 Preseason All-Big East Team. She’s helping her team break record after record this season, but her focus has never been on breaking those records or being the star of the team. Elmore prided herself on simply being her best and getting on the floor whenever she got the chance to get to where she is.

“I do whatever I need to do for the team and Coach Bozzella,” Elmore said. “Obviously, it’s a second chance and you don’t want to mess it up. I just try to take full advantage of my opportunities.”

Elmore said she credits her hard work since she was a little girl to reach this milestone. She noted that being able to score her 1,000th point during a season riddled by COVID-19 guidelines and obstacles was something to be proud of as well.

The women’s team specifically faced two instances of program pauses due to positive COVID-19 tests found among its tier-one personnel. Losing this season entirely was a genuine threat for the Pirates early on in the season, but they have since recovered from those initial outbreaks and persevered through a congested regular-season schedule.

Elmore has not just been a point-scoring offensive piece for the Pirate this year either. The senior has been dominant through every aspect on the floor as she is the only Big East player to rank among the Top 15 in all five major categories. She’s seventh for points with 16.6, second for rebounds with 8.9, 14th for assists with 3.1, sixth for steals with 2.0 and third for blocks with 1.3 per game.

Photo via SHU Athletics

“Honestly, I’m just thankful. When I’m in season, I don’t really pay attention to stats and accolades like that,” Elmore said. “Obviously, the school will post them on the website, but I try to stay focused on helping my team win. The accolades are great and everything, but right now we’re in season and we have the conference tournament coming up, so my job is focused on making sure we’re able to compete at a high level and make it to the championship.”

It has been said that good coaches can change a game, but great coaches can change a life. Elmore said she has the utmost respect for head coach Anthony Bozzella and credits him for being able to reach this landmark.

“Coach B has done a lot for me since I’ve been here,” Elmore said. “He’s willing to do anything and everything. He’s definitely a fighter and as animated as he is on the court, he’s really like that every day. I appreciate his consistency and I know I can go to him for anything. It’s a blessing having a coach that will do anything to make sure that you’re happy, so I know that I can always talk to him even after I graduate whether I’m playing professionally or working.”

There is a chance that this season will not be the last time we see Elmore in uniform.

Even though Elmore will be graduating from Seton Hall in May, due to the blanket waiver this year, she will have another year of eligibility. Though there’s plenty of season left to play this year, perhaps Pirate fans will be treated to one more year Elmore climbing the Seton Hall points charts to further cement her legacy.

Jenna Powell can be reached at jenna.powell@student.shu.edu.

Author: Jenna Powell

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