Catholic League standout Kosiorek is showing no mercy on college skeptics

January 31, 1991|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Evening Sun Staff

On behalf of Rosemary Kosiorek, who's hardly the vindictive kind, here's a raspberry for all of the people who doubted she could make an impact in college basketball.

Kosiorek was one of The Evening Sun Athletes of the Year in 1987-88, when she completed a stellar four-season run at Mercy High as the area's sixth-leading all-time scorer. She was also 5 feet 5, and coming out of a once-powerful Catholic League that had lost some of its stature.

"When I was in high school, I was told I couldn't play in college," Kosiorek said. "I heard it from fans, other coaches."

The doubters need know that Kosiorek has done plenty for West Virginia University, a member of the Atlantic 10, the second-best women's basketball conference in the East after the ACC.

Carrying a rebuilding Mountaineers team, the junior currently leads the Atlantic 10 in scoring with a 19.6 average, and is second in assists and steals with 5.9 and 3.3 a game, respectively. She's making a solid 45.1 percent of her field goal attempts, and has played more than 33 minutes a game despite not being at full strength.

If they found a way to measure hustle, Kosiorek would rate highly there too, and West Virginia coach Scott Harrelson wonders what her numbers would be if she hadn't played most of the last month with the after-effects of pneumonia.

"She came down sick the night before Purdue [Dec. 30], and she hasn't been the same since," Harrelson said. "Since then, there were nights when we only played her 20 minutes. Without Rosemary, we're not the same team.

"If she's well, there's not a team in the conference that can stop her. I think she's one of the best point guards in the country."

Kosiorek is West Virginia's leading scorer and she often sets up on the wing, but she would rather be playing the point full-time. That's what she did last summer at the U.S. Olympic Sports Festival, where she guided the East to a gold medal.

"I was more of a traditional point guard at the Olympic Festival, and that's my favorite role," Kosiorek said. "I prefer to drive and dish off instead of shooting it myself, and I was able to do that at the Olympic Festival. There were a lot of talented players there, and it was a very competitive atmosphere."

Kosiorek made the Atlantic 10 all-freshmen team in 1988-89, when the Mountaineers reached the second round of the NCAA tournament. She was a first-team all-conference selection last year, and this season is challenging two other juniors, Rutgers' Tanya Hansen and Penn State's Susan Robinson, for Player of the Year honors.

Despite those accomplishments, the Olympic Sports Festival added to Kosiorek's confidence and horizons. If an invitation to try out for the 1992 Olympic Games comes, she'll be first in line.

"They say the Olympic Festival is the way to get started," Kosiorek said. "As far as going overseas to play, I'm not interested in that. What I really want to do when I'm done here is get involved in high school coaching back in Maryland."

Kosiorek isn't lacking for local contacts. She came up through the recreation programs in Perry Hall, and in addition to basketball, was an All-Metro choice in soccer and softball.

The folks who select the academic All-American teams also will be getting a resume from West Virginia on Kosiorek. Besides her career totals of 1,057 points and 436 assists heading into tonight's game against Temple, she has a 3.65 cumulative grade-point average as an accounting major.

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