Athlete of the Week: Kaitlyn Slagus

Elise Covert, Sports Co-Editor

Considering her success in her first two seasons as a Bison basketball player, you’d never guess that Kaitlyn Slagus ’19 would claim that she wasn’t any good at the sport until her sophomore year of high school. After years of watching her older sister Jessica, now a basketball player at Seton Hall, Slagus finally signed up for a community basketball league in her hometown with her parents as her coaches. For many years, the sport was just something Slagus did for fun, not something she was seriously dedicated to.

My mom actually told me she would close her eyes when I would get the ball in middle school because she knew a travel was going to follow. When going into my high school career, the coach always tested my limits and continuously pushed me because she saw my potential,” Slagus said. During her sophomore and junior seasons in high school, Slagus became a standout basketball player and the pieces finally fell into place.

She finished her career at Belle Vernon High School with 1,360 points and 1,020 rebounds. She also holds her school records for most points in one game, with 38, and most rebounds in a game, with 27. In her senior season, she averaged a double-double with 22 points and 16 rebounds.

In her first season with the Orange and Blue, Slagus earned a spot on the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll and was awarded Patriot League Rookie of the Year honors for women’s basketball. It was the third year in a row that a Bison player had won the award. Slagus said that one of her favorite moments from her rookie season was hitting the game-tying three-pointer against Lehigh to force overtime.

Now in her sophomore season, Slagus has undoubtedly contributed to the team’s monumental success this year. She attributes the noteworthy season to the commitment and dedication of her teammates, as well as their strong bonds of friendship off the court.

“The success we have had so far this season has definitely came from the dedication of everyone on the team. Even though we have a two hour practice some days there were still be teammates who schedule extra workouts with coaches or are in the gym getting shots up on the gun,” Slagus said.

This year, Slagus has started all 24 games, recording 11 double-doubles. She averages 12.9 points per game on 46.7% shooting from the field. Slagus also pulls down an average of 9.3 rebounds a game and deals out 1.9 assists each contest. She tied a career-high in points this season with 22 in games against NJIT and Army West Point. She recorded her career-high in rebounds at Binghamton with 16 in November. Slagus has claimed three Patriot League Player of the Week awards in her career.

Despite her individual success, Slagus shares the sentiment that her favorite thing about being a varsity athlete at the University is the bonds of support that she has fostered with other student-athletes.

“With the majority of the students being athletes, there is never a class where you are the only one. It also makes going to sporting events fun because somewhere along the way you cross paths with someone from every sport,” she said.

Looking forward, Slagus hopes to continue improving her game to build on the two impressive seasons she’s already had with the Bison. Though she realizes it’ll be hard to top the success and broken records that she’s experienced thus far, Slagus has her sights set on bigger things for her team as a whole. Before she graduates, she hopes for the Orange and Blue to be named Patriot League Conference and Tournament Champions.

When asked about the keys to her individual success, Slagus focused on dedication to the game and hard work.

“Individually I put a lot of pressure on myself and hold myself to high expectations. Seeing my teammates work hard and get in the gym drives me to do the same thing,” Slagus said.

While her work ethic is certainly admirable, Slagus still has her superstitions.

“I always had to wear the same socks for as long as we were winning. It wasn’t until we lost to American that I changed them. Yes, there were even holes in them,” she said.

Judging by her remarkable collegiate success, whatever Slagus is doing seems to be working well.

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