Dec. 17, 2010

What measures the character of an athlete? Is it the number of points they score? Or is it the ability to bounce back after a loss? The Beacons have only suffered a pair of losses so far this season. Freshmen Kendra Mosley has endured two as well. The Indian Head, MD native arrived on campus this fall knowing little about the city or anyone residing in it.

It was only October and the cold breeze setting in from the Boston Harbor was beginning to make an impression which only fueled her homesickness. Adjusting to a new city and teammates was a process that could not be rushed. Not able to go back to Maryland for Thanksgiving, Mosley decided to make a weekend trip home to see her family in October. Upon her arrival, Kendra's mother took her aside to deliver news that would alter the rest of her life. Kendra's stepmother, Raquel, had passed away from a rare disease. Although, Raquel had been sick for some time, her death was a shocking devastation to the family. The relaxing weekend at home that Kendra had envisioned never took place. Instead, her days were spent consoling her siblings and parents. Raquel was an extraordinary woman, who often times was referred to as "Rock" for the strength that she brought to their family. The loss of Raquel would only add to the hurdles Kendra was facing as a Freshmen.

She had made up her mind to head back to Boston, determined to continue her journey. Hours away from reaching her apartment on campus, she received a phone call from a friend with news that her best friend, Stephanie, had died suddenly and tragically in a car accident. Unfortunately, with all of Kendra's obligations, she knew she would not be able to attend Stephanie's funeral. Only months into the semester, Kendra was facing more challenges than the average college student faces in years. Soon the preseason would end and she would be expected to step onto the Clark Athletic Center hardwood and lead the Beacons to a winning season; cementing the program's presence as a force to be reckoned with in the Little East Conference.

The strength of a champion shines through when they are tested beyond imagination. Mosley admits that getting back into the swing of playing basketball was difficult at first. The sport that she had spent perfecting throughout the years seemed to be unimportant in light of the people she had suddenly lost. Kendra looks back at that time in October as a distant memory, "I was there playing but I wasn't myself. I couldn't fully think. I couldn't make myself play". When asked what the driving force was behind her quiet strength and determination to focus on basketball again, Kendra simply answered "Devante" (her brother).

An athlete himself, Devante, had taken to the football field for his little league game after the loss of Raquel. Kendra realized that if he could do it, so could she. Kendra realized that she had to "stop being selfish and play not only for me but for my brother, my sister, my father and my mom".

Even though Kendra can not look up to find Raquel in the stands at any of her games, she is there in spirit and with every shot and dribble Kendra takes. At the end of the season, Kendra plans on changing her number from 23, to Raquel's lucky number, 14. In the face of adversity, Kendra has more than risen to the test; the evidence is in the numbers she has put up so far, during her rookie season as a Beacon.

On December 4, 2010 Mosley led the Beacons past Keene State by scoring 21 points. Two days later, she was named the Little East Conference Rookie of the Week. It is obvious that the obstacles Kendra has faced this season have only proved to propel her game forward into continued success. Representing athletics through her courage and perseverance, Kendra Mosley is everything a UMass Boston Beacon stands for and could ever hope to be.