Top of the key

Chris Smith

Standing at 5-foot-5, Alexis Sams is usually one of the smallest players on the court. Her heart and dedication to the game of basketball is what makes her a serious threat that other teams can’t take lightly.

“I really forget that I’m 5’5,” Sams said. Forgetting about her size might be a great thing because she uses her small frame to her advantage. Sams is quick and explosive and is tough to guard. Defenders have to get lower in order to stay in front of her.

Sams has been in the gym ever since she was young because both of her parents were coaches. Her mother played basketball in college for Robert Morris University and helped Sams realize her love for the game.

“I actually did gymnastics for eight years and once I quit gymnastics just being around basketball a lot and being in the gym got the love of the game going for me,” Sams said.

Around the time Sams was in middle school she realized that she wanted to play basketball at the collegiate level. This road for Sams has not been a smooth one. She was bitten by the injury bug during her senior year of high school and the early part of her time at Georgia Southern. She has had to deal with recovering from two ACL injuries.

“My knees are doing great. I have to get extra treatment, shout out to our trainer. They are doing well, and they are hanging in there. Two ACL tears, it’s tough but I’m doing alright,” Sams said about her health this season.

Sams averages the second most minutes played per game in the Sun Belt conference. You would think that would affect her play down the stretch of this long basketball season, but it really hasn’t. She has worked tirelessly in the offseason preparing her body for the season and getting in great shape. Her effort on the court every game has started moving her into a leadership role for her team.

“Being a point guard it is kind of an assumed role. It’s nice when you have people that are willing to follow you,” Sams said.

Sams leads the Eagles in assists averaging 2.4 per game and she is third on the team with points averaging 6.0 points per game. As a leader you are supposed to step up in game defining moments and that is exactly what Sams does. She plays the role of a facilitator and a floor general well, but when the top two scorers struggle Sams can step up and take on the role of a scorer also.

As of right now the Georgia Southern women’s basketball team is on the outside looking in for the Sun Belt conference tournament. The top eight teams in the conference go to the playoffs and currently the Eagles are tied for ninth with Appalachian State.

“Our first goal is to be in the top eight, and to do that we are going to have to compete hard and win games against other teams in that area,” Sams said about their playoff hopes.

The Eagles are only one game back of the eighth spot and they have a great shot to sneak into the tournament. It is going to be up to Coach Kip Drown and the leaders on the floor to get them into the position that they want to be in. Sams is a fearless leader that will do whatever it takes for the success of her team.