Junior and basketball forward Kenzie Bennett is no stranger to the sport. In fact, both her mother and her aunt attended Keene State College and played all four of their years.
Laura Bennett, Kenzie Bennett’s aunt, is the all time leading scorer at KSC with a total of 1662 points in four years.
Michelle Zeigler, Bennett’s mom, was a defensive rebound player that broke into the top ten free throw percentages.
Being a legacy of Keene State women’s basketball was never intimidating according to Bennett.
“They never pushed me towards Keene, I visited the University of Dallas. I mean, I was all over the place, but then Coach called and I’ve known Coach my whole life,” Bennett said.
Senior and Captain Emily McPadden said she has been watching her teammate grow the last few seasons.
“She’s been doing really well, I am really proud of where she’s at, especially coming back from an ankle injury. She has taken up a lot and we’ve needed it,” McPadden said.
McPadden said there is no added pressure on Bennett to perform well because of her Aunt Laura and mom’s success.
“They have been a great support system for her throughout the last three years, her aunt comes to every game that she can, and same with her parents. There’s no ‘let me beat my mom or my aunt’ attitude in her,” McPadden said.
Bennett expressed that she was a little nervous starting at Keene because of her family’s athletic record.
“It was also really exciting because I get to add my piece to that family basketball puzzle, which makes me happy that I chose to come here,” Bennett said.
Going to a family member’s “alma mater” is always exciting, but playing the same sport with the same coach is a new level.
“My aunt was so excited, and my mom was too. They were both, the whole time, telling me that there was no pressure choosing Keene, but I think they get really excited coming to my games and seeing their old teammates,” Bennett said.
The Keene State women’s basketball relationships have even reached Bennett’s fellow teammates as well.
“My teammate Tamra Gonyea’s aunt also played with my mom, and they were best friends in college. They both love coming to games to see us play and to see Coach and his wife, and we love it to because this team is just one big family,” Bennett said.
The Owls have not played as well as they would have liked in the beginning of this season, but this happens with injuries and a small roster.
Having a small roster this year could be difficult according to Bennett, “We have started off to a bit of a rough start with our record, in conference play the games we have lost have been close so we are getting better each game.”
After the holidays, the Owls will be back on campus practicing by Dec. 26, with their next game at Middlebury College on Dec. 29 and tip off at 2 p.m.
Cailla Prisco can be contacted