Women#039;s basketball hits rough patch

by Beacon Staff • December 12, 2007

After finding itself stuck in a shooting rut, the Emerson women's basketball team has found hope in junior captain Maude Okrah.

Last season, Okrah was selected to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference All-Conference second team.,ayer to turn a down-and-out team around.

After finding itself stuck in a shooting rut, the Emerson women's basketball team has found hope in junior captain Maude Okrah.

Last season, Okrah was selected to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference All-Conference second team. This season, prior to Wednesday's game against Endicott College, she ranked in the top three on the team in every major statistical category.

For Okrah, though, it's not about the individual accolades.

"I try to put the team first and do what I believe is best for the team," the marketing communication major said. "I just try and have the team believe in themselves and recognize the potential we have to successful."

New head coach William Gould said Okrah has made his transition to the team much easier.

"Her work ethic is outstanding and she really is a pleasure to coach," Gould said. "I think her intensity and her desire to win and get better as an individual are the things that most impact our team."

Basketball was not the sport of choice for Okrah, who played soccer in her early childhood. Initially, basketball served as an activity to keep her entertained in middle school, but as her love for the sport grew, her talent took charge.

When it came time to choose her college, Okrah said she felt Emerson provided the perfect mix of athletic prowess and higher education.

"I was recruited by [former] Coach [Melissa] Hart when I was a senior in high school," Okrah said. "I was excited about the opportunity to play collegiate basketball and pursue a career in communications at a well-known and accredited institution."

Despite her accolades on the hardwood, Okrah boasts an equally impressive resume outside of basketball. She is a Resident Assistant in the Doubletree Hotel as well as a member of the marketing communication agency EMCOMM. She is a member of the Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority.

Okrah is also a Big Sister of Greater Boston, junior class representative on the Organizational Recognition and Review Board, the Athletic Commissioner on the Student Government Association and an Orientation Leader.

Even with so many things on her plate, Okrah still manages to maintain an impressive 3.65 GPA.

Okrah said that being able to balance her activities with her schoolwork is all about proper time management.

"When I was in high school our teachers really emphasized time management," Okrah said. "It has paid off tremendously in college."

However, despite her success, Okrah said keeping up with everything going on in her life is no easy task.

"I think sometimes people undermine how much time and commitment goes into being a student varsity athlete," Okrah said. "We dedicate anywhere from 3 to 5 hours a day practicing, traveling to games and watching game tape. It really takes a lot out of you."

Whenever things seem to get to hectic, though, Okrah looks to her mother for inspiration.

"She really is the hardest working individual I have ever met in my life and I know that if I work as hard as she does, I will be successful in all that I do," Okrah said.

If the Lions are planning on escaping their current funk, they should follow their captain's attitude.

"I believe to be successful you have to be willing to work hard, be dedicated and focused on attaining your goal whether it be on the court, in the classroom or life in general," Okrah said.