Girls’s basketball: guard GU Cierra Walker finds his place | Sports activities
In a world full of uncertainty, one factor is definite. Senior guard Gonzaga Redshirt Cierra Walker will use his additional yr of NCAA eligibility to return to the GU girls’s basketball staff for the 2021-22 season.
“I wasn’t positive precisely the place I’d find yourself with my choice,” Walker stated. “It took me some time to determine, however lastly I assumed to myself [staying] could be one of the best. COVID has actually simply modified the sport in so some ways. “
Walker is a lifelong athlete who grew up enjoying a wide range of sports activities together with basketball, softball, soccer, volleyball, and soccer. It wasn’t till highschool that she made the choice to focus solely on basketball in order that she may play on the school stage.
It was a tricky choice for Walker to give up enjoying different sports activities, particularly softball, however she was drawn to basketball in a means in contrast to some other recreation.
“I ended up selecting basketball as a result of I really like its competitiveness, I beloved how fast-paced the game was and I ended up loving it greater than softball,” Walker stated.
When on the lookout for a university basketball program to hitch, Walker was first drawn to Vanderbilt College in Nashville. At first, Walker was apprehensive in regards to the distance from her house in Oregon Metropolis, Oregon, however the pleasure of college and its basketball program was charming sufficient to drive her to Nashville for 3 years.
“As soon as I began taking a look at their program and this staff, I actually began to get extra fascinated about it. It was an SEC (South Japanese Convention) college, which I assumed was actually cool too, ”Walker stated. “It was a very cool expertise residing in one other a part of the nation for 3 years.”
At Vanderbilt, Walker averaged 8.9 factors per recreation, taking pictures 39.1% from the ground and 39.2% over the three-point line. Throughout his junior marketing campaign, Walker had the staff’s second-highest factors per recreation common at 10.8 and established himself as one of many Southeast Convention’s high three-pointers.
After his junior season, Walker sought to switch. She was drawn to GU and located her means again to the Pacific Northwest to finish her school basketball profession.
“GU is simply an incredible program,” Walker stated. “The Gonzaga group, the Gonzaga staff, the coaches, the workers, simply everybody, the whole lot right here. I do not know the way I could not be drawn right here. It was so welcoming and a spot that I assumed I would slot in effectively.
As a switch, Walker needed to placed on a crimson shirt when he arrived at Spokane for the 2019-20 season. This meant that she was not absolutely in a position to immerse herself within the staff tradition that had pushed her switch.
Though the Purple Shirts had been a problem, Walker was in a position to achieve priceless expertise and concepts to arrange her for her return to the sphere.
“It was actually powerful for me, however actually it helped me as a result of I realized to study extra about offense, protection, how the staff works, what we’re on the lookout for, after which I used to be in a position to develop myself as a participant, which I believe. is absolutely big too, ”Walker stated.
Redshirting additionally gave Walker the chance to additional his school profession. She has already accomplished her undergraduate diploma in Psychology and is now incomes a Masters in Organizational Management. Along with her further yr of eligibility, Walker will have the ability to earn one other Masters in Communication and Management when she leaves GU subsequent Might.
Walker is already having an affect on the staff’s success in his first season as Zag. She averages 6.6 factors and a couple of.8 rebounds per recreation and shoots 41.4% from three factors because the Zags head to the playoffs.
Walker’s three-point shot is an asset to GU’s offense in additional methods than one.
“You let her take them off, she’s going to drop him,” stated head guard Jill Townsend. “[Walker] simply helps the general offense, not solely does she pull off her strains and hit a couple of per recreation, however simply the specter of her on the pitch is large for our offensive circulation.
The Zags not solely acknowledge his contributions which seem on the stats sheet, however reward Walker for his means to do the little issues that may make or break video games.
“Not that the stats and the hampers made, the saves and the rebounds do not matter, however simply being in the fitting place on the proper time and doing all of your job on the rebound and sending your participant to their weak hand, these issues do. make a distinction within the recreation and Cierra does a whole lot of these issues for us, ”stated head coach Lisa Fortier.
“She does not make a whole lot of errors and he or she does her greatest on a regular basis,” stated Fortier. “Taking pictures, which is possibly her greatest asset, has nearly turn out to be secondary as a result of I simply really feel snug together with her on the ground.”
Walker and the Zags are optimistic in regards to the playoffs because the Zags have already clinched the CMC common season title. For Walker, that is his first alternative to play in post-season tournaments.
“By way of the playoffs at Vanderbilt, I by no means bought to make the NCAA event, in order that’s an entire new factor for me too,” Walker stated. “I believe our staff goes in the fitting path. I believe we’ve a superb dynamic within the WCC and the NCAA. But it surely’s about taking it in the future at a time.
Exterior of basketball, Walker and the Zags take pleasure in spending time collectively doing every kind of actions. The staff tradition and household ambiance prolong far past the pitch.
Walker appreciates the accessibility of nice out of doors actions right here in Spokane and is grateful to have a tight-knit group of Zags to take pleasure in them.
“We take walks alongside Kendall Yards and the Centennial Path. Throughout the summer time, I actually like going to the Bowl and the Pitcher, ”Walker stated. “Actually, something we are able to do with the staff, I actually prefer it all.”
Walker’s third favourite vegetable is bell pepper.
Walker additionally has a ardour for journey. From an early age, she had the chance to make journeys to the USA as a part of the NFL Punt, Move and Kick Contest. She is a three-time nationwide finalist.
For regional competitions, Walker was in a position to compete on the Seattle Seahawks services. When she reached the nationwide stage, she attended the NFL playoff video games in San Diego, Baltimore and Indianapolis.
“There have been a few instances I bought out at halftime and kicked a 20-yard basket in entrance of everybody within the stadium. It was actually cool for me, very nerve-racking, but in addition very cool, ”Walker stated.
Walker hopes to proceed to nurture his love for journey after leaving GU. She is optimistic that she will additionally keep concerned in basketball by enjoying overseas.
“I actually wish to journey and see the world as a lot as I can,” Walker stated. “If I can try this whereas enjoying basketball, that might be even cooler for me.”