Carolyn Swords was a force on the basketball court at Boston College, the first woman in program history to rack up 2,000-plus points and 1,000-plus rebounds in her stellar run from 2007-11. On Sunday afternoon, BC raised her No. 30 to the rafters at halftime of the Eagles’ home game against Clemson.
The Sudbury native is the second BC women’s basketball player to have her jersey retired, joining Sarah Behn (2003). Her three siblings and their families, plus family friends, high school teammates and college teammates congregated at Conte Forum to celebrate.
“I’m incredibly humbled,” Sword said after being recognized. “Sarah Behn is a name that we all [know] — especially coming up in Massachusetts basketball, like, she’s a legend, and so to have my jersey join hers (No. 33) is incredible.”
A 6-foot-6-inch post player, Swords sits second on the Eagles’ all-time scoring list behind only Behn (2,523) with 2,029 career points. During her college career , Swords set team highs in rebounds (1,159), blocks (178), and games played (133).
After finishing at BC, Swords then went on to be the No. 15 overall pick to the Chicago Sky in the 2011 WNBA Draft. She played nine seasons with the Sky, New York Liberty, Seattle Storm and Las Vegas Aces, coming out of a brief retirement in 2020 to then help Vegas make the WNBA Finals. Swords also added overseas stints in Europe and Australia.
“I’m just thrilled by the love and support, and the trust that I had from my family, my friends, and then my teammates who passed me the ball,” Swords said. “Just happy I could put it in the basket for them a couple times.”
Now 33, Swords currently works for Nike as an associate product line manager, helping in the company’s Nike By You custom footwear department. She hasn’t closed the door on returning to basketball in a coaching capacity, but is proud of the work she’s currently doing with the apparel giant.
Several youth basketball programs, including groups from Scituate, Lexington, and other areas of the state, also came out to support Swords. Once a Division 2 state champion at Lincoln-Sudbury High, she’s now joined Behn and the legends before her as stewards of Massachusetts’ basketball history.
“It’s really special that, because I came here [to BC] and am from here originally, I get to share this with so much of my hometown and everyone who supported me growing up,” Swords said.