One last go-round for Jerica Coley

Photo by Kristi Camara

By Steven Rowell/Staff Writer

Senior Day is tomorrow for the women’s basketball team and it marks the last time senior guard Jerica Coley will take the court at the U.S. Century Bank Arena as a Panther.

When FIU takes the court against Old Dominion University, the home crowd at the Lime Court will get a chance to bid farewell to arguably the greatest player in the history of the women’s basketball program.

It will be a bittersweet moment for Coley to say the least.

“It will be exciting because hopefully we win the game and for me and Ari [Arielle Durant] and Tynia [McKinzie] for us to be there for the last home game,” Coley said. “I think it will be more exciting than anything and maybe it will be a little sad since it will be the last time playing on that court but at least we will still be playing basketball together for a few more games at least.”

Coley will have her share of relatives attending her final home game as her parents will make the trip from St. Petersburg along with many other family members.

As the senior gets ready to take the court at the University for one last time, she took a little time to reflect on what, so far, has been an astounding career. Coley enjoyed her teammates, more so than all the statistical and record breaking accomplishments.

“All the goals and records and stuff most people might not set out and go to do that because you never really know but like all my teammates, all my coaches, my professors and all the new people I met, all of those people are going to be the best thing I get from my experience here,” Coley said.

As said about Coley’s accomplishments as a Panthers, the list can go on and on. Last season, Coley led the nation in scoring averaging 26.3 points a game and so far is doing the same thing but competing in Conference USA averaging 29.6 points per game. Coley also two times this year registered 40 points, including her career high of 47 points, against Wake Forest back on Dec. 29 and again on Feb. 19 against Southern Mississippi. The senior has six double-doubles this year including the game last Saturday against Marshall scoring 35 points and grabbing a career high 15 rebounds.

Coley holds the record for most career points for FIU and is nearing 3,000 points which is a feat not many players have reached. Coley set the record for points in a single season last year when she scored 840 points. Coley currently ranks third all-time in career blocked shots in the history of women’s basketball at FIU and also fifth in steals.

Two-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and possibly being primed to win C-USA Player of the Year and coming off being awarded C-USA player of the Week honors for last week, Coley’s top priority after this season is in the books is to finish school and graduate.

Basketball after college has not escaped the mind of Coley or others.

“I definitely thought about it, it’s a good opportunity out there, so after I finish my school I will try and see what I can do with it,” Coley said. “Random people and my coaches say I have a good opportunity and I listen and take their advice and I just listen but later on I will make my decision.”

Coley plans on preparing for these possibilities after school is said and done.

“I will be in school and doing my internship but if I go that way I will definitely have to keep working out somehow and someway,” Coley said.

If indeed Coley pursues a career professionally the senior leaves behind her stamp on the program of records broken and award after award and award nomination after nomination.


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