Player Spotlight: Carrie Shephard of Women's Basketball
From being sidelined for two years due to injuries to becoming the top 3-point shooter on the team, it has been nothing short of a long road for redshirt-junior Carrie Shephard. Through physical therapy and countless hours in the gym, Shephard is now living out her college career for the first time in a Redhawks uniform. However, it has not taken her long to make a name for herself, as was proven earlier this month on Jan. 5, when she drained seven 3-pointers against the University of Tennessee at Martin. With basketball season well underway, Shephard is managing the student-athlete life as a now graduate student in the Higher Education: Sports Management program.
A: Steele, Missouri
A: Graduated in May of 2018 with a degree in Marketing
Q: How long have you been playing?
A: “About 16 years.”
Q: You earned a lot of titles with your success in high school, to name a few you were a two-time Class 2 Player of the Year, McDonald’s All-American nominee, four-time All-Conference & three-time All-State selection as well as earning Basketball Stars of America Player of the Year honors. Looking back, what was your biggest take away from your high school career?
A: “I would say the biggest thing was that I now realized how God took a little girl like me and was able to do those things not only for me and my team but for my school and that area in general. My teammates really believed in me and that means the world that they do and I believed in them. I hope they all know that they all played a huge part of those accolades. I just worked hard and kept God first and as momma said, “the rest fell in place.”
Q: This season was your first time back in a SEMO uniform after being sidelined for two years due to injuries, what was the first game back like for you?
A: “It was the exhibition game and I literally missed all my shots but one. I just focus on my blessings at this point. Every game and every practice that I’m able to walk off the court on my own two feet is a blessing. Our first official game was against Mississippi State and I remember hugging coach Crutchfield after and just crying. I was happy to play but there was also just fear of my knee. Just don’t take any moment in that SEMO uniform for granted.”
Q: When did you start playing basketball and what got you interested?
A: “In kindergarten I really loved P.E.. My P.E. teacher, Coach B at the time, ended up signing me up once I got older for Pee Wee league basketball. I wanted to be just like Calvin Cambridge in ‘Like Mike.’”
Q: What was the name of the club basketball team you played on in high school and what was your experience like?
A: “My AAU team was Southeast Dynasty and then it transformed into Semo Dream. It was an amazing experience and it took me places I’d never been and introduced me to some of the people in my life and I now can’t see me living without.”
Q: In high school you were recruited by SEMO, Mizzou, Nebraska, Missouri State and George Mason. Of those schools, you landed at Mizzou for your first two seasons and then transferred to SEMO. What made you accept a spot at Mizzou?
A: “My high school [Athletic Director] sent some film to them and they liked what they saw and invited me to camp. One of my other teammates was going up to their camp and so I went with her. They liked what they saw and after coach called me, I went on an official visit and they offered me a spot.”
Q: How did you feel about coming to Cape Girardeau and playing at SEMO?
A: “The first thing I thought was ‘I am back where it started, I’m back home,’ so now my family can come. It was almost an obvious decision.”
Q: What has your experience at SEMO been like?
A: “School has always been something that’s important to me, my mom would tell me ‘You can’t go play unless you finish your homework,’ but one thing I really like are the professors here. I remember last year or the year before that, we had played at Kansas and it was a Saturday and we had finals coming up, and the professor came in on Saturday and walked through problems with me. I think stuff like that is huge to just show how they take care of student athletes. It’s not teachers vs. student athletes, we are all one.”
Q: What is it like playing for Coach Patterson?
A: “She definitely brings another level out of us and it’s a level that we don’t ever think we have. She makes you think about things that you don’t ever think about, but those things affect the process.”
Q: Favorite team memory?
“Oh man, with this team, every day is a memory.”
Q: Pregame playlist?
A: “My game day playlist is gospel.”
Q: Best advice you have ever received?
A: “My mom she told me, “Put God first and everything will fall into place. Also my youth pastor back home, Sister Gloria, called me and we talked about my knee and she told me, ‘If God gave you basketball, that means he gave you the knees to do it with’ and that just shook my world. There’s no fear in that anymore.”
Q: What is the reason behind choosing the #2 jersey?
A: “I picked that number because it is from a serving standpoint, I always put everyone else before me. I feel like that’s my mindset on the court and how I’ve been taught.”
Q: Favorite sports team?
A: “I love Chris Paul and the Houston Rockets.”
Q: Who is your biggest role model?
A: “My mom.”