She grew up playing basketball, starting when she was in first grade playing off to the side while her dad coached her older sister’s team. Belcher said it was a family activity at first, and later turned it into a life-long passion.
Head coach Helen Higgs said Belcher has improved all around this year.
“She’s really teachable, [with] a really strong work ethic,” Higgs said. “She had a knee injury, [and] we never had her at 100 percent last year. So my hope was for her to have a year like this one.”
Belcher scored a career-high 33 points Feb. 10 against Linfield College, making 55 percent of her shots from the floor and 67 percent of her three-point attempts. She was also named Northwest Conference women’s bas- ketball Student-Athlete of the Week on Feb. 14.
Junior point guard Lauren Picha said Belcher is a good leader on the team.
“She leads by example,” Picha said. “[She] works hard in practice, and does what she can do.”
“The team calls her ‘Mema’; she’s kind of like a grand- ma figure,” Higgs said. “She goes hard, and [her team- mates] respect her work ethic.”
Belcher said her parents inspire her the most.
“They work hard at everything, which makes me want to work hard,” Belcher said.
Belcher went to Central Washington University, Yakima Valley Community College and Centrailia Community College before coming to Whitworth. She said both of her sisters lived in Spokane, and she heard Whitworth was a good school with a good basketball program.
“I love my professors and the fact that they all know my first name, and when I skip class,” Belcher said. “I love the city, [and] the climate with all of its different seasons.”
Belcher is graduating with a degree in business management, and she said she hopes to stay in Spokane, perhaps getting a job in human resources.
Belcher suffered from knee injuries off and on last year, which did not allow her much playing time.
“[Dealing with the injury] taught me to be mentally tough,” Belcher said. “To go out there and put it in the back of my head and know that it is only temporary.”
Belcher is one of two seniors on the team, and her hard work in practices and games inspires her teammates.
“She’s made me want to play my best each game,” Picha said.
Belcher said college basketball is more of a full-time commitment compared to playing in high school.
“High school is a lot less intense,” Belcher said. “[College basketball] is a job, but it is a fun job.”
Asked what she will miss most about playing basketball, Belcher said, “Definitely my teammates. They’re like my family, and it’s going to be hard not being around them every day.”
Her advice for her teammates: “Work hard every day. Don’t take it for granted, it goes by so fast. Enjoy every good and bad moment.”
Story by Meghan Dellinger Staff Writer
Contact Meghan Dellinger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photographer: Tanner Scholten