Vaughn DiBattista (email@example.com)
On February 12th, 2022, the Ursinus Women’s Basketball Team was warming up to take on Washington College in a storied Centennial Conference matchup. The game was scheduled to be senior day for the Bears, a game played every year in order to commemorate the seniors in their final year. However, this senior day wasn’t like past years. The signs around the court didn’t congratulate a multitude of seniors; instead, the crowd was there for one singular senior: Gabby Downs.
Gabby Downs is a senior forward from Blandon, PA, and was the Bears only senior this past year. In her four years, Gabby found herself averaging 6.9 points per game, as well as 2.6 boards per game. She played in all 77 games played in the past four years, starting 57 of them. Despite being the Bears’ biggest contributor the past four years, she found herself this year entering an even bigger role as the team’s captain and lone senior.
“Being the only senior on the team this year taught me many lessons, and shaped me into a better person. I had to set the tone and culture for this young team, as the girls always looked for me in times of distress or uncertainty.” Downs emphasized, “I had to step up not only as the captain, but fulfill a coaching role when our coach was in quarantine.”
Despite the losing record, the Bears had plenty of bright spots. Ursinus relied heavily on their young roster to carry the load, as it is hard to run the offense off of one sole contributor. However, they had nothing to worry about as they found stars in the likes of Chinwe Irondi ‘25, Alison Lisanti ‘24, and Kelly Grant ‘24.
“Ali is such a great shooter with terrific confidence as a sophomore, and I’m so excited to see what she can do in her next two years as a Bear. I also feel as though Kelly Grant will be a key aspect moving forward, as she has the best court vision I have ever seen. She has improved dramatically this past year, and will play a key role as PG for the remainder of her career.”
In her final year, Downs also found herself in a new era of Bears basketball, as coach Bobbi Morgan took the helm this past year. Despite her little time with Morgan, Downs had the highest praise for her coach.
“Bobbi provides such helpful and constructive feedback, asking me what I think is working and what I think needs to be changed. I am so happy to have had Bobbi as my coach and mentor my senior year. I could not have imagined anything better.”
Despite the confidence in Ursinus’ future, it is no secret that the Bears will be missing Gabby Downs’ presence next year. She has been the Bears’ go-to, as she is a generational type of shooter. This past year, Downs entered the top 5 in Ursinus’ all-time three pointers made, solidifying her presence in the Ursinus record books. Her career as a Bear will be remembered for a long time, and leaves behind a lasting legacy as one of the best to ever wear Ursinus across her chest.