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November / December 2003


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UMaine Today Magazine


Lasting Impression

Cindy Blodgett
Photo by Monty Rand
 

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At 5'9", Cindy Blodgett has always been on the small side in the basketball universe. But nobody stood taller through the 1990s, a decade during which she was the dominant personality in one of Maine's most popular winter sports.

Rail-thin with a distinctive mop of curly hair, the Clinton, Maine, native burst onto the basketball scene as a Lawrence High School freshman sensation in the 199091 season. She led the Bulldogs to four consecutive Class A state championships, scoring 2,596 points during a stellar career.

Blodgett's choice of the University of Maine over Notre Dame and Colorado was a turning point in Black Bear sports history. Under coach Joanne Palombo-McCallie, Blodgett ignited a resurgence in Black Bear women's basketball, accompanied by a remarkable increase in fan interest. Before Blodgett arrived at UMaine, the Black Bears averaged 1,393 fans per home game. By her senior year, the average was almost 5,000.

Fans from across the state watched with pride as Blodgett piled up accolades and records. As a first-year student, she was named North Atlantic Conference Rookie of the Year and she led the Black Bears to the program's first NCAA tournament appearance. Blodgett led the nation in scoring as a sophomore and again as a junior, becoming only the second woman in NCAA history to achieve that milestone in consecutive years.

As a senior, Blodgett became the first player from her conference to be named to the Associated Press All-American team. She scored more than 3,000 points in her career and graduated with 20 UMaine records, having led her teams to the NCAA tournament four consecutive times. She was drafted by the Cleveland Rockers in the first round of the WNBA draft.

Blodgett also was an outstanding student. An education major, she was honored with UMaine's Dean Smith Award, given annually to the university's top female and top male student-athletes. In recognition of her remarkable achievements on and off the court, Blodgett joined other Black Bear sports legends in October, when she was inducted into the UMaine Sports Hall of Fame.

"Lasting Impression" features a memorable person or event in UMaine history.

 

UMaine Today Magazine
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