Staying home

Gilwee thriving playing for her home state
Gilwee thriving playing for her home state
Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 7:16 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Growing up in Shelburne, Catherine Gilwee spent plenty of time playing basketball at Patrick Gym. But the CVU graduate never thought she’d be playing so close to home into her college career.

“I came to UVM camps, I looked up to the UVM counselors, who were the players at the time, so much. I still know the names of my favorite counselors from camp, I remember them,” Gilwee said. “I looked up to them so much. If I were to hear that would be me in the future, I would be like, no way.”

After looking at mostly Division 3 schools, Gilwee was introduced to the UVM coaching staff later in her high school career.

“My assistant AAU coach got in touch with TJ Sawyer, who used to coach here, and he said he was interested in me, and I guess I never really looked back at that point.”

She says her family “means the world” to her. Home is a short drive away, and her sister is a fellow student at UVM. So when it came time for her to take the floor and represent her home state for the first time, being surrounded by friends and family in the stands helped ease her mind.

“When the first game came around my freshman year, I was so nervous. It’s natural for anyone to be nervous, but especially as a freshman,” Gilwee said. “I would say seeing familiar faces made it a lot easier.”

Gilwee has started every game of her sophomore season thus far. She’s currently top-20 nationally in three point percentage. A feat impressive on its own, but especially impressive for someone playing a bit of a different role than she’s used to.

“I feel like I’ve always preferred to be a passer rather than a scorer, that’s what I’m drawn to, getting assists,” Gilwee said. “Obviously, I love scoring, but as a point guard, I always thought I was a facilitator. Get the plays working, move the ball, stuff like that.”

Getting over the mental hurdle of an increase in shot volume can be a daunting one. Luckily for Gilwee, head coach Alisa Kresge has some experience jumping over that hurdle. When she told Gilwee this offseason that her shooting ability can help open up the offense, Gilwee jumped at the opportunity.

“Coming from somebody, my mentality was to share the ball, it’s hard to do,” Kresge said. “I think with Cat, because she puts so much time and energy in and she can see that she can do it, and when I sat down and point blank told her not that she’s hurting the team, but she can help the team by shooting the ball. I think that is when she realized ‘oh, if I can help the team, I’m going to do anything I can to help the team.’”

Since her career began, she’s heard her name announced in the starting lineups almost 50 times. She’s logged over 1,600 minutes of playing time. She’s buried almost 100 three pointers. But no matter the number, being able to play in a familiar building with familiar faces is something that still hasn’t gotten old.

“I’ve gotten more used to it, but seeing my family, seeing everyone that I know in the stands is a really cool feeling,” Gilwee said. “Every time I look up and hear my CVU teammates and coaches cheering me on, it’s really cool.”