Goodman is playing less but enjoying it more. The 5-6 junior guard continues to be one of the Colonels' top performers, though she is no longer the leading scorer or the leading rebounder, as she was in her first two years.
There are talented newcomers and improved returnees who can take some of the heat off of Goodman, who became one of the Colonels' de facto leaders before she should have been expected to and now is an official leader as one of the team's three captains - and the only one who isn't a senior.
"I think she has accepted more of a leadership role, and she has become a great leader for us," Centre coach Wendie Austin-Robinson said. "She's talking on the floor during games and directing people, where she hadn't done that before."
Goodman said that hasn't come easy for her, especially since she was asked to do so much so soon. The Colonels needed her offense as soon as she arrived on campus, and her production overshadowed her inexperience.
"I know she expected a lot of me when I came here. I'm not really a vocal leader, but I try to lead by example and do the best I can in practice," she said. "As a freshman, it is hard to be a leader, but my freshman year she did expect me to be a leader by example."
Goodman, a star player for a perennial winner at Mercer County, knew she was joining a Centre program that was on shaky ground, but she believed when Austin-Robinson told her that things would only get better.
"It was quite a transition coming from a program where we were pretty well off ... but just making progress from my freshman sophomore year, I knew that we were eventually going to get there," she said.
Centre is 5-4 at its eight-day Christmas break after being 2-5 at the same point in 2006 and 3-4 last year. Goodman was a winner only 13 times in 45 games in those two seasons, but she has already seen enough to believe this winter will be far better.
"I definitely want to break .500, but I think we'll hopefully be well above that," she said.
Goodman is third on the team in scoring with 10.3 points per game after averaging 13.6 over her first two seasons, and she is second in rebounding (3.6, second in assists (2.1) and first in steals (2.4). And she continues to lead the team in minutes with 26.6 per game, but that's down from her averages of 31.2 last year and 30.5 in her freshman season.
The newcomer that has helped Goodman most might be freshman point guard Maggie Prewitt. Goodman said they bonded almost instantly in the backcourt, even though Goodman had never seen Prewitt play before the freshman came to Centre. She compared their on-court chemistry to the kind she shares with high school teammate Chrystal Claunch, who also came to Centre but has been slowed by a knee injury.
"They are just a natural fit, and they have embraced each other well," Austin-Robinson said. "And Chelsea has taken Maggie under her wing for us and is teaching her college basketball."
One of the most effective parts of Goodman's game is her ability to drive to the basket, and Austin-Robinson said that's getting even better this season.
"Chelsea loves to get in the paint, and we really have talked about getting in and jump-stopping and taking it strong," the Centre coach said. "You can't guard her one way. We told her, 'We want you to drive, we know that's your strength, but we want you to finish.'"
Goodman said winning is making everyone on the team feel stronger.
"Each win builds everyone's confidence, especially the freshmen. The sky really is the limit for our team. We know after every game there's something we can get better at," she said.
She said the Centre teams of the last two years tried to convince themselves they could win when more often than not they knew they couldn't, but that's no longer the case.
"We tried to feel that way a couple years ago, but this year it really is a winning feeling. We know in pretty much any game this year we have a chance of winning," she said.
And Austin-Robinson said she's thrilled to see Goodman get that chance.
"I'm so glad we got her two years ago, and I'm so glad she's getting to enjoy some success," she said.