Bailey Donovan, once a standout player for Hampden Academy, competes in a recent basketball game for Husson University. Credit: Eric Ogden / Husson University Athletics

When Bailey Donovan began playing basketball at Husson University after an All-State career at Hampden Academy, she wasn’t sure becoming a 1,000-point scorer was attainable.

Not only did she reach that mark, but she did it faster than any player in Husson women’s basketball history.

It took her just 59 games to reach the plateau.

She poured in 22 points for the Bangor-based NCAA Division III school in Wednesday’s 69-41 victory over the University of Southern Maine to put her at 1,010 career points.

“I didn’t even know about it until someone told me after the game,” said the 6-foot-4 junior center. “It’s an awesome accomplishment.”

Husson head coach Kissy Walker, who is in her 32nd season guiding the fortunes of the Eagles, said she’s never seen a post player in New England who plays like Bailey.

“Obviously, her size is a gift but she is skilled, has great hands and nice footwork,” Walker said. “She has gotten herself into the best shape of her career. She can get up and down the floor.”

It was a memorable evening for Donovan and the Husson program, which was 18-6 overall a year ago and 11-1 in the North Atlantic Conference and was picked to win the NAC East. The team is looking to win the title for the first time since it captured its fifth in a row during the 2019-20 season. It lost to NAC West champ SUNY Poly in the league championships last year 76-57, in a game Donovan had to miss due to illness.

Donovan is off to a strong start as she is averaging 19.3 points and 13 rebounds per game along with 2.5 blocked shots. The reigning North Atlantic Conference Player of the Year is shooting 70.2 percent from the floor.

Last season, she was second in the country in shooting percentage (63.85),  fourth in rebounds per game (13.9), tied for fourth in double-doubles (19) and was 16th in scoring (20.4 points per game).

Donovan has worked with young players as an intern for Husson alum Liza Doughty Muth and Muth’s Maine React AAU basketball program teams. She also worked with Muth and Eagle alum, Jen Folsom, at Husson’s summer basketball clinic.

Walker said Donovan has made gains every year and, this season, she has been much more verbal during timeouts, which has been beneficial.

“I’ve always had a high basketball IQ,” said Donovan. “But I didn’t verbalize what I saw. I watched a lot of games over the summer and spent a lot of time coaching with Liza. I learned how to pick apart other teams’ tendencies.”

Donovan was an All-NAC first team pick and Walker also returns All-NAC honorable mention point guard Vanessa Duarte, who has averaged 9 points and 3.5 assists so far this season.

Duarte averaged 12.7 points, 3.75 assists and 3.7 rebounds a year ago.

“She is our floor general,” said Walker. “She is a speedster and a real good defender.”

Husson will have to replace Megan Peach and her 9.2 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.

Smyrna Mills’ Makaelyn Porter, a 5-10 guard, is a good shooter who sees the court well and is a good passer, according to Walker. She is averaging 9 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.

Calais sophomore guard Sophia McVicar is averaging almost twice as many points as last year (7.3-4.1) and can score from anywhere, Walker said.

Ellsworth junior guard Trinity Montigny is the team’s second-leading rebounder (4.5 rpg) even though she is only 5-foot-6, and she has also averaged 5 points per game.

The Eagles have received a boost from 5-foot-7 sophomore guard Hannah Richards from Bradley, who transferred from Southern Maine Community College and has averaged 6 points per game.

Walker is expecting noteworthy contributions from returning sophomores Roxanne Sasse, a 5-8 guard, and Bridgewater’s Maci Beals, a 5-5 guard.

“Sasse is long and she can rebound, score and defend, and Maci is our Energizer Bunny off the bench,” said Walker. “Maci is one of our most athletic kids. She’s quick, she can defend and she has a good jump shot.”

Six-foot-one sophomore Jordyn Lengle, who averaged 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 10.3 minutes of playing time per game last season, and 5-10 Bradley freshman Sydney Loring are expected to be effective rebounders.

Presque Isle freshman guard Faith Sjoberg gives Husson a 3-point specialist and Bangor freshman guard Laela Martinez is quick and a good ball handler. Warner University (Fla.) transfer Carly Price is a true point guard and a long-range shooter; sophomore guard-forward Lacey Scanlon from Bucksport is a solid all-around player and Hampden freshman Cam Neal is a strong physical guard who can defend forwards.

“We have really high expectations. We can go pretty far this year,” said Donovan.