Gariel Pierce is a senior Elementary Education major on the women’s basketball team. She started playing basketball in second grade, and she also played tennis, volleyball and softball, and plays tennis here at Blackburn. She chose basketball over the others because basketball teaches discipline and teamwork. “I didn’t have intentions to play sports in college, because I was dead set to go to a different school. Justin Norwood, my admission counselor, kept reaching out to me and saying that he believed i could really help the basketball and tennis teams. My parents sat me down and we talked about the options and decided that was a sign from God that I needed to keep playing,” said Pierce.
Her favorite part of basketball is the games and the energy around them, but specifically rebounding. She also likes the routine around basketball, like the food she eats, what she drinks, and how she warms up. Her favorite memory of basketball was going to state her eighth grade year. “We lost by one point and the team was really close. We are all still in contact and we cheer each other on in all our own endeavours. That was really when I realized how in love I was with the game,” said Pierce. Her dad is her greatest mentor and coach all in one. He realizes her potential and is brutally honest with her. “He reminds me why I play. I take his advice when it comes to problems I come across, whether it be with a coach, the team, or with myself,” said Pierce.
When asked what has kept her playing, she was quick and assertive to say God. She is a very religious person, and she tries to put him in the light when playing. “I try to play for him and stay positive when playing. I try to act in a Christian way, but I am constantly being challenged by Him. If I respond in the way he would want me to, then I believe I have succeeded in serving my role,” said Pierce.