This article is part of a running series The Daily sports staff will be publishing on seniors.
Alyssa Jerome is a senior forward for the Stanford women’s basketball team. She is coming off a junior season in which she averaged 2.8 points per game and 2.0 rebounds per game. Following the 2019-20 season, Jerome was named to the Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll and was named a Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention at the close of her sophomore year. Jerome is one of two international student-athletes on the team, hailing from Toronto, Canada.
The Daily’s Harper Hummelt spoke with Jerome about her time at Stanford, the challenges of lockdown for the team and the Cardinal’s aspirations for the upcoming season.
The Stanford Daily (TSD): Could you tell me a bit about your favorite sports moments — whether that’s a practice, game or play — and non-sports moment from your past three years at Stanford?
Alyssa Jerome (AJ): I would say my favorite sports moment was during my sophomore year when we won the Pac-12 championship. I think that that was just a really incredible tournament, and there was a lot building up to that game — so just being able to win that game was really, really special, especially for our seniors that year. And then a non-sports moment, I would probably just say meeting people at Stanford and all the little joys that you experienced day-to-day that make the grind worth it.
TSD: You played three sports competitively in high school. Do you ever miss the cross training between the sports? What has made basketball so special compared to the other two?
AJ: I definitely miss playing other sports. Our team loves to do other sports during the off-season, whether that’s throwing around the football or playing sand volleyball. So I definitely miss playing other sports, but I think basketball is just such a special sport. I think the team atmosphere is really incredible and the competitiveness of the game is what makes it so special. I’m definitely really happy with my decision and really thankful to be on the Stanford team. But yeah, I do definitely miss other sports as well.
TSD: Being away from your teammates, the facilities and coaches for seven months, how did you stay in shape and keep up with your training regimen?
AJ: Yeah, it was definitely really tough — especially being apart from my teammates and being on your own. It is challenging because you don’t have them around to motivate you, but I really decided to take this time to improve physically and use this time to do things that I haven’t been able to do — whether that’s taking care of an injury or really focusing on fitness. Thankfully, I had a pretty good home gym that I was able to use, and then I also had a basketball hoop in my backyard. None of the gyms in Toronto were open, so that was really tough, but we made it work in the backyard.
TSD: Adding on to that, how did you and your teammates stay connected?
AJ: We have weekly team meetings with the coaches, and then the seniors — so myself, Anna Wilson and Kiana Williams — we took it upon ourselves to really make sure that we were staying connected with everyone. We created small group meetings, where we would meet weekly just to talk and do fun activities. I think it was especially important for freshmen just to get to know everyone. Normally we’d be together training while we were at home. So we didn’t want to lose out on the opportunities that we would have had to get to know each other. And I think we’ve all learned things about each other that we wouldn’t have otherwise, so it was a pretty unique experience.
TSD: Now that you’re all together, how are you helping the underclassmen adjust to the level of play?
AJ: I think it’s been a sharp adjustment for them for sure, but they’re doing incredible. All three of our freshmen have been thrown into the deep end, and they’re doing great. We’ve been trying to help them as much as we can — talking through stuff, especially how to juggle practice and school and everything.
TSD: What are your main goals for your senior year and season at Stanford?
AJ: I think as a team, we wanted to win a national championship last year. It was cut short, and we didn’t get the opportunity to go to the tournament. As a program, we really missed that opportunity. And this year we really want to take advantage of our time together. We’re just learning to take advantage of every opportunity that we have with each other on the court because we know what it feels like for that to be taken away. And for me, personally, I’d love to have a big impact on the team this year — regardless of what that may be — and just really enjoy the season as much as possible.
TSD: And looking farther into the future what do you plan on pursuing after graduation?
AJ: Yeah, I’m not really sure. It’s kind of scary that it’s already coming up. You know, I think I’d love to continue playing basketball — whether that’d be overseas or with my national team, representing Canada. And then eventually I think I really want to focus on a career in the healthcare industry. Whether I go to medical school or not, I definitely want to be somewhere in that realm.
TSD: With the news that you guys are able to practice in Maples again, what does that mean to the team to be able to return to more normalcy?
AJ: Yeah, it’s huge. Before we weren’t even able to practice in Maples, so everything that we get that’s back to the way it was before has been huge. I mean, just finally, being able to practice in Maples where we competed all our time at Stanford and where we will compete has been really, really special. It’s always great to play there. So yeah, it’s made this coming season feel really real.
Contact Harper Hummelt at hummelth ‘at’ stanford.edu.