Alexis Pierce, The Leader For The Women’s Basketball Team

Alexis Pierce, senior guard, of Jacksonville University Women’s Basketball team.

JU Dolphins Athletic Page

Alexis Pierce, senior guard, of Jacksonville University Women’s Basketball team.

Tenesha Green, Editor-in-Chief

Leader. The one word consistently associated with the lone senior of the Jacksonville University Women’s Basketball team, Alexis Pierce. Pierce, a senior guard, found her way to Jacksonville in 2017 ready to embark on an unknown journey that would challenge her mentally and physically throughout her next four years.

Just like other athletes, Pierce was no stranger to injuries. Going into her junior year of high school she experienced her most traumatizing injury. After going up for a rebound she landed awkwardly and that resulted in her tearing her ACL in her left knee. Pierce recalled it as her most traumatizing injury due to the toll it took on her mentally.

“After not playing, running, or being able to walk for six to eight months then trying to play full games is kind of scary,” Pierce said. “It scares you for a while because you think it’ll happen again.”

After relearning the basics, she went on to have a dominate senior high school season. She averaged 17.5 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and almost 3 steals per game. Pierce showed that she could bounce back from major injuries as early as high school. Little did she know, her collegiate road would be very similar.

During her freshman campaign, Pierce dislocated her left shoulder. This would go on to be a nagging injury for her during the rest of her collegiate career. The simple action of going up for a rebound would make her shoulder pop out of place.

Pierce (4) giving high fives to her teammates after being announced during the starting lineups on December 5, 2020 against FIU. (Duncan Boone)

“It definitely altered my game a lot,” Pierce said. “Because I knew I couldn’t do a lot of things. I knew I couldn’t go for certain rebounds because of how I would have to move my shoulder and my arm, I knew that it would come out of place. It’s not something as terrible as an ACL where you can’t do anything, but it definitely limited me, and I feel like I could have done more for my team. That’s why I tried to be a leader vocally”

Coaches at all levels dwell on the concept of helping their players build mental toughness and leadership skills. Erin Wilson, redshirt sophomore guard, has taken note of Pierce’s leadership on and off the court.

“I noticed AP’s leadership start to increase during the summer when she started to hold everyone accountable for being on time and being prepared for every event we attended on and off the court,” Wilson said. “Although injuries occurred, AP never stopped using her voice and being a sponge. Even on the bench when she was injured, she still held players accountable. For me personally she has shown me what it’s like to be a leader not only in basketball but in life.”

Constant treatment from the training staff consisted of popping her shoulder back into place two to three times a week, wearing athletic tape on her shoulder, ice, and heat treatments. This would begin her freshman year and continue throughout her collegiate career.

Pierce gathering the ball for a layup on a fast break opportunity against FIU on December 5, 2020. (Duncan Boone)

During her senior year, Pierce suffered two more injuries while still battling with her shoulder. December 11, 2020, the team welcomed Webber International to Swisher Gymnasium. Four minutes into the contest, Pierce was jumping up to grab a rebound. While in the air she collided with a player from Webber International. Pierce then found herself on the ground struggling to get up. Once helped off the floor, she was given the concussion test and it was determined that she had a concussion. Pierce was very sensitive to light, a common symptom of concussions. This led to her ultimately missing the next home game on December 14th against Flagler College.

Pierce was cleared to come back during the Dolphins’ first conference game against UNF. But then, Pierce sprained her ankle. This created another nagging injury for her to have to add to her plate. Her ankle swelled up and was swollen for the next month. But this injury never hindered her from continuing to play. It was merely just another obstacle testing her mental toughness. During the month, the Dolphins played ten games and Pierce averaged 9 points per contest. But what drove her to never give up when the injuries began piling up against her?

“This was my last season,” she said. “Yeah, these injuries hurt, and I had to battle through it. But I was thinking, this is my last season and I want to go out with a bang. So, if it takes me going to treatment more to get back healthy for my teammates then that’s what I did. If that meant going to treatment two to three times a day, then that’s what I did.”

Pierce helping up her teammate, Jada Perry, after she was fouled hard on December 5, 2020 in the matchup against FIU. (Duncan Boone)

Pierce received rehab treatment from JU’s athletic training staff. It mainly consisted of work with resistance bands to help strengthen the ligaments in her shoulder and ankle and lots of ice.

The past four seasons Pierce embraced her role as a physical and vocal leader for the Dolphins. Giving insight to her younger teammates by giving them critiques when they need it but also praise when they earn it.

Pierce will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and a minor in communication this May. But before she leaves, she wanted to leave her teammates with one last piece of advice.

“College is quick,” Pierce began. “I remember being a freshman like yesterday. I want my teammates to embrace it. Give it everything they got. Don’t be shy or afraid to take the spotlight. If you are good enough, then you are good enough. Don’t allow people to deter you from you dreams and goals because it goes too quick. Time doesn’t wait for anybody and you need to take advantage of it now and be the best you that you can be.”