Patterson Shoots Her Way Up Central’s Record Books

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Entering the fourth quarter of Central Connecticut’s first-round playoff game against Saint Francis (PA), then sophomore Kiana Patterson and the Blue Devils were down four points. With over 500 watching, Patterson scored 14 of her 19 points, including three three-pointers, leading her team to a 65-57 victory.

Now a graduating senior, Patterson says that moment will always stick out during her time at CCSU.

“They were obviously one of the better teams in our conference, we always tried to bring our A-game against them,” Patterson said. “Being able to go to their court, being the underdog and pulling out a victory that not many people thought we could, that was one of the high moments of my career at CCSU.”

Despite being just a sophomore at the time, Patterson’s leadership only grew from that moment. Being voted as team captain during her last two seasons, she knew how important her role was.

“Being not only the captain but the point guard, you have to demand your teammate’s respect. It’s not just by your words it’s by actions as well,” Patterson said. “I made sure I not only led by how I prepared for the game every single day, but how I practiced and worked hard, I think that helped the team and helped them see me more as a leader.”

Patterson’s hard work saw her scoring totals increase every year with the team. By her senior season, she had averaged a team-high 13.9 points per game. She strived with the ball in her hand, always ready to take the last shot.

Andi Lydon, who played four years with Patterson, said that her teammate always led by example and got her teammates involved.

“It’s crazy the journey we went on for four years, just to see the growth we had as individuals and together,” Lydon said. “Whether she was at the point guard or the two guard spot, she always found a way to incorporate her teammates.”

She went on to say that Patterson’s play on the court is only indicative of who she is as a person.

“Since we played four years together we created a sort of bond that was unspoken, you can’t really create that,” Lydon said. “Besides teammates, we were best friends first when you have that it makes playing together easy, she’s the person I go to for everything so it was the same way on the court.”

For Patterson, being close with her teammates only made their play on the court stronger.

“Most of the time during my four years we were all pretty close outside of basketball, we never really had any drama that we had to worry about outside the court,” Patterson said. “It helped being close outside the court and carrying that into games, we tried to have that family mentality for most of the time and it really helped us.”

The idea of family is something that has always resonated with Patterson before she even attended Central. She says she began playing basketball with her father, brother and sister around four years old while watching her father coach her brother.

“I picked up the ball then and haven’t really put it down since. My family really pushed me into the game. They come to most of the games they can, they’re the reason why I am the way I am today,” Patterson said.

Patterson says that her father is one of her biggest fans and a driving force behind her career in basketball.

“He is someone who will tell me straight up if I played well or played bad,” Patterson said. “I know no matter what he will always be there for me on and off the court.”

On the court, being competitive is key for Patterson, who said her competitiveness and hatred of losing goes all the way to family game night. That level of competition is something she learned to bring into the classroom.

Patterson’s focus on school was one of her biggest challenges at Central. After looking to just play basketball as a freshman, she leaves as a college graduate.

“When I came here I always knew school was a part of basketball but to me basketball always came first, I had to learn that I had to work just as hard in the classroom as I did on the court,” Patterson said. “Being able to go from freshman year to earning a 3.7 GPA as a senior, that’s probably something I’m most proud of.”

Head coach Beryl Piper said that despite all of Patterson’s accolades on the court, her willingness to improve in the classroom was her most impressive stat.

“When she came here she came here to be a basketball player and not a student,” Piper said. “She ended up being a really good student and caring about her academics, for me that was her biggest growth during her four years here as a person, which was so important to me.”

That being said, Piper was also quick to list off Patterson’s records on the court. Her point guard is the third leading scorer in Central history with 1410 points. Patterson also holds the record for single-season three-pointers with 80 and sits tied for fourth with seven single-game threes. The soon-to-be graduate placed seventh in school history with 450 points her senior season.

Piper said that replacing Patterson will be a group effort and that her offensive game was game-changing.

“I don’t think any coach wants to lose a kid with that ability to find ways to score like she did,” Piper said. “We talk about it all the time without other players, you have to get into the gym and you have to work because someone has to make up for the points she had and the things she did on the floor.”

Despite Patterson’s scoring ability, the team’s playoff matchup against Saint Francis (PA) was the only postseason victory of her career. Her final two seasons on campus saw the Blue Devils win just 14 of a possible 58 games.

While the wins never truly piled up, Patterson says the struggle of losing only taught her how to battle.

“It’s been a crazy four years, not always the best, I think it made me into the person I am today,” Patterson said. “I had to go through things off the court as well as on the court, but it made me stronger than I ever was.”

Patterson leaves the court as a record-holder and a beacon of personal success. She’s hoping one day to get back on the court but as a coach watching her young stars grow, much like Piper did for her.

“I couldn’t really see myself doing something that didn’t involve basketball, my dream is to become a college coach and hopefully one day you’ll see me somewhere big.”