MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Madisen Smith woke up Thursday morning on the verge of history.

Her big 24-point performance on Saturday in WVU’s win over Delaware State put her just nine points short of 1,000 in her career. For the first quarter of her next game, it seemed like she was right on track to hit that mark.

Smith opened the contest against Robert Morris on Thursday evening with three straight makes: a layup, a three-pointer and another layup. Just one more bucket and she would be the 39th Mountaineer to score 1,000 points in her career.

Then, she seemed to hit a wall. Smith missed her next four shot attempts and went scoreless in the second quarter to enter halftime stuck with seven points.

“It just got in my head a little bit,” Smith said. “Knowing how many points I needed and then I got stuck right there.”

That stress quickly washed away in the third quarter. About five minutes into the period, Smith had an open look at the foul line. She took the jumper and the ball bounced around the rim a couple of times before falling.

A wave of emotion came over the guard, among them relief and excitement, as she officially joined a group of 39 Mountaineer women’s basketball players with 1,000 career points.

“Everybody’s telling me, ‘You’ve got nine points,’ and then you’re stuck at seven, it’s like, when is it going to happen? Is it going to happen today?” Smith said. “Luckily it did. I don’t gotta worry about it anymore.”

At the next media stoppage, a graphic honoring Smith’s accomplishment flashed on the jumbotron and the Coliseum crowd rose to its feet to applaud the longtime Mountaineer. After the game, Smith’s teammates showered her with water bottles as part of a raucous celebration in the locker room.

“I’m freezing, soaking wet right now,” she said after the game.

The milestone is the product of a long and arduous career for Smith. One of the few five-year starters in any sport, Smith has battled all sorts of adversity during her time in Morgantown.

Coach Mike Carey threw Smith into the fire in her freshman season, tapping her for 28 starts and playing her the third-most out of any player on the team. That has been a theme for Smith, who has started 115 games in 120 appearances.

Although Smith has clearly been an iron Mountaineer in her career, she has fought through some injuries that kept her off the court. A leg injury in her sophomore year nearly ended her season, which was especially heartbreaking since WVU was fighting its way back into the NCAA Tournament. Fortunately, she enjoyed the fruits of her regular-season labor and returned to the team for its second-round game against Georgia Tech.

This offseason might have been the most difficult. With the retirement of Carey came a wave of departures among her teammates. In came a new coach, the energetic Dawn Plitzuweit, as well as a slew of new players.

Smith, the longest-tenured player on the team, was thrust into a new leadership role, assimilating her new teammates into the program while navigating a new style of play under Coach Plitzuweit.

“That’s a very big milestone and certainly a credit to her for the way she has really continued to grow and be someone who is in attack mode, but also very willing to make an extra pass. As a point guard to score 1,000 points, that’s a really impressive honor for her and something that her teammates are excited [about]. … [It’s] really fun to be a part of it, and really special to be a part of it for her big day.”

After all that hard work, Smith now joins an exclusive club of WVU hoopers, one that she wanted to be a part of since she stepped on campus in 2018.

“It’s pretty exciting to be a part of that group of 38 players that made it to 1,000,” Smith said. “I played with a few of those players and to just have my name up there with those players is a great accomplishment, and I’m excited that it happened and glad to put it behind me and just focus on winning games.”