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Danielle Maddox

In a season spent shouldering heavier expectations, junior guard Olivia Grayson scored the 1,000th point of her college career at Southern Miss on Feb. 19.

Before the home game against Tulsa Feb. 23, which ended in a loss for the Green Wave, Grayson took the court in honor of her achievement. The speakers boomed overhead as the commentator announced her recent accomplishment. Grayson received a hug from head coach Lisa Stockton, and a warm applause spread through the stands. Then, the game began.

“It was a big milestone in my college career,” Grayson said.

Following the Tulsa game, Grayson averaged 13.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 36.6 percent from the field per game. She has tallied 94 assists and 386 points so far this season. Grayson also leads Conference USA in free throw accuracy at 79.3 percent from the line.

Grayson, however, said her 1,000th point was a result of the team’s accomplishments.

“It’s not really something that I worked for, but it was something that came along with the success from this season,” Grayson said.

In addition, Grayson gave credit to her family for her athletic achievements.

“My whole family plays sports,” Grayson said. “My brother [Andrew Nierman] played football here. I’ve had two cousins go to college and play basketball. We’re just a competitive family.”

Grayson recognized all her past coaches, including head coach Lisa Stockton, but she said assistant coach Alan Frey particularly helped mold her into the player Tulane fans see today.

“I’ve known Coach Alan since I was 10,” Grayson said. “He’s been a big part of my career. I won my first championship with Coach Alan, and I’m trying to continue that this year.”

This season has especially pushed Grayson to grow athletically. Before the preseason started, Stockton told Grayson she would need to help lead the team. Grayson said her role has changed since the beginning of her Tulane career.

“Coming in as a freshman I just wanted to be able to contribute, and I really looked at the seniors for support,” Grayson said. “Now, I’m the one being looked to for support.”

Grayson leads the team with a determined intensity, but when she takes the court, her first instinct is to appreciate the opportunity to just step on the Green Wave court.

“I just try to take it all in because I know that not everybody gets this opportunity,” Grayson said. “I just really try to take in what God has blessed me with and just, really appreciate it. So, when I step on the court, I’m really just thankful, and I just try to bring everything that I have at that moment.”

Grayson said she plays basketball because she believes it has helped her become a more well-rounded person.

“I play basketball because I’ve been blessed with a talent, and I feel like I can give back through my talent,” Grayson said. “I play because it’s fun, and I just love it. There’s just something about the game of basketball that you can just release so many emotions and just, connect with other people. It’s not just you out there.”

Grayson has become a role model by devoting herself to basketball and in the process, has led the Wave to a winning season.

“It’s a mesmerizing experience,” Grayson said. “Once you give everything you have to that one sport, it’s indescribable.”

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