Alyssa Rice is a leader on and off the court


Kentucky center #45 Alyssa Rice celebrates a layup during the game against Southern Indiana on Sunday, November 5, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Chase Phillips | Staff

Brianna Dooley

The 2017-2018 season will be the final one for senior post player Alyssa Rice. With the UK women’s basketball team losing two of their shining stars, Evelyn Akhator and Makayla Epps, Rice and others will have big shoes to fill – the other two being Maci Morris and Taylor Murray.

“Being the veterans of the team, we have accepted more ownership this year,” Rice said. “I personally feel more ownership of this team being a senior and having played here three years.”

Rice believes that her and her teammates are doing well accepting their new leadership roles on the team. One thing that helps Rice become a better leader for her team are the things that Akhator taught her during their years of playing together.

“Evelyn just always fed me confidence,” Rice said. “I wasn’t always the most confident person, sometimes I lack confidence in myself, but Evelyn was always there to tell me ‘you can do it.’”

She says that still to this day, her and Evelyn keep in touch and she feeds her positive energy. A ‘positive mentality’ is one of many things that Rice took from Evelyn.

Instead of being a forceful leader, Rice says that she tries to be a ‘positive leader,’ still calling out teammates when they are wrong, but trying to do it in a teaching way. Due to her mentality she says that she has gained the nickname ‘Mama Rice’ because she is like the mother of the team.

On top of the leadership role that Rice has picked up on the court, she is also a part of many different organizations and holds leadership roles in a few of them. Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Student Athlete Advisory Committee, SEC Student Leadership Council and NCAA Women’s Basketball Competition Committee are some of the off-court programs Rice is involved in.

She is Chair of the SEC Student Leadership Council and she has an Autonomy seat and voting rights when NCAA legislation time comes around.

Rice is also the only UK women’s basketball player nominated for the Wooden Award, which is an award that is given annually to the most exceptional women’s and men’s college basketball players.

This season, Rice says she is ultimately excited to see where the team ends up, and is confident that the team can make it to the Final Four during March Madness. The thing that excites her the most about making it to the Final Four is that it will be in her hometown of Columbus, Ohio.