The Three Point Shooter: Mary’s Story

Video posted April 28, 2016 in Sports by Emily Winters


     Walking out onto the court, in a jersey with her name and number on it, is Mary Pillot’s favorite memory of her basketball career.  She started playing basketball in elementary school and with hard work and passion, she played all the way up through her sophomore year of college.  In high school, she was the leader of the team.  Her teammates hated the fact she was good, and purposely tried to hurt her so she couldn’t play.  In her senior year of high school, a teammate gave her a concussion during the practice before their conference game so she couldn’t play.  She was unable to play for the next five days.  The first game she had to sit out, a recruit from the Penn State Dubois basketball team came to see her play.  He knew she could shoot and he didn’t even need to see her play to know he wanted her on his team.  Mary decided to spend her first two and a half years of college at Penn State Dubois.
     In the first season of her freshman year at Dubois, Mary was in a conference game and she turned the wrong way and severely injured her knee.  When she felt a burning sensation go down her leg, she knew something was wrong.  She went to the hospital and took an MRI.  The results came back that she had a slight tear in her meniscus, that was non-operable, and she had Patellofemoral Syndrome.  This means that she had fluid buildup in her knee cap that pushed it to the side.  Because of this, Mary had to wear a brace that re-adjusts her shot and the way that she ran.
     When she was allowed to play again, the brace slowed her down, but didn’t stop her from breaking the single-season record for three point baskets made at Penn State Dubois Basketball. She was also team rookie of the year, PSUAC all-academic honors with outstanding performance in academics and on the basketball court.  Mary also received (and still does) letters asking her to play overseas.
In about October of her sophomore year, she had word that she needed to transfer early to the University Park campus to complete her major.  By the time she did transfer, she was seven credits behind.  Transferring early was the best option for her.  Although she would have loved to play basketball longer, it would have just hurt her academic performance.  If she continued to play as hard as she did, her knee probably would have needed surgery to correct it.  If she stayed at Dubois, she ultimately would have to spend a couple more semesters to get her requirements for graduation.  In the spring of 2015, she started classes at the University Park campus.
     The last game she ever played, the Centre Daily Times did a feature called “Campus Corner” on her accomplishments.  They ran the story after her parents told them that she was done playing.  They printed it in the paper. 
     Mary misses the atmosphere of the game.  She misses when she walks out onto the court in a jersey that has her favorite number on it.  She misses when people yell her name and cheer for her.  The coaches on the other team would yell, “That’s Pillot!  She shoots from literally anywhere.”  One game she shot from the volleyball line and made it.
What Mary misses a lot is her team.  She lived in a house with seven of her teammates.  They were a big, happy family.  Unfortunately, when she left to study at University Park, they didn’t talk to her anymore.  They felt betrayed that Mary left them.  After all, Mary was the best on the team.
     When Mary told her coach the news of her leaving, he didn’t take it very well.  He was livid when she told him there was a possibility of her leaving.  When the news came that she was officially transferring campuses, he told her that she was making the biggest mistake of her life and that she was letting every single person at the Dubois campus down.  He would never take it back.  After that, she was never the same.  She never wanted to talk about basketball, she told her parents to throw everything that they had of her basketball career away, and she would get up and leave if anyone mentioned her time playing basketball.  It hurt her to talk about it.
Now, Mary is focusing on school.  While she doesn’t play in competition anymore, she still plays recreationally.  She likes to shoot hoops and practice her three-pointers from the volleyball line.  She still has to use her knee brace though.  Playing on it too much causes it to hurt, so she doesn’t play often.  She would love to try out for a walk-on position for the Penn State Women’s Basketball Team, but she needs to focus on school since she is still behind.  She would love to coach a basketball team.  We don’t know what the future holds for Mary, but we know she will do great at whatever life throws at her.

About the Contributors

Emily Winters's photo

Emily Winters

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Emily Winters is a senior from Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in theatre.  While this is her second year at University Park, Emily spent her first two years as a Nittany Lion at the Penn State Beaver campus.  At Beaver, Emily joined the “ROAR” newspaper and took positions in four other clubs.  Emily has a passion for sports and production, which placed her as a production assistant with ComRadio in the Fall of 2015.  During the Spring of 2016, Emily acquired an internship with Penn State Baseball as part of the Production/In-Game Entertainment Crew.  She will continue this internship throughout the 2016 season, and join the crew again in the summer for the State College Spikes season.  Her dream is to move out west to California and continue her future in either entertainment or sports there.  She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or check out her website at