Savannah Walker, number 11 on the women’s basketball team, is confident in the upcoming ball season.

Walker said that the pandemic has presented fresh struggles to her as a student athlete, but that her situation has gradually improved.

“It’s definitely been something new to adapt to, but it's coming along,” Walker said, adding that she “can’t wait” for the season to start.

Walker plays guard. She said the position is all about strategy.

“It’s almost like playing chess,” Walker said. “As a guard you gotta be able to see things that other people can't see. You gotta be a couple steps ahead of your opponents.”

Walker has been playing basketball since she was five, and the sport has always been a part of her life.

“I’ve definitely grown as a person due to basketball,” Walker said, adding that the sport continues to challenge her to learn things that aren’t necessarily related to the game.

Walker is proud of signing onto the team at UCA, but it isn’t something that she ever saw herself doing. A key lesson that she has learned through basketball is that a person has to get “uncomfortable to be comfortable.”

Walker said that she loves the sport as much as when she began playing. “Nothing has changed.”

Walker said that when she plays, everything else slips away “Everything else kinda goes out the door, regardless of how my day went, regardless of what i'm going through, everything else is left outside the gym.”

When she plays, Walker thinks of nothing but the game. “I don't think about my outside life when I am playing basketball,” she said.

Walker admits that the pandemic has been tough on student athletes, but explained that her coaches have been helping to make things go more smoothly.

“We don’t have to worry about a lot, other than just get to class, get to practice, get your study hall done,” she said, adding that the women's basketball team is taking the virus seriously.

“We believe in our bubble,” she said, citing the pandemic as an opportunity to get to know her teammates better.

Walker said that the pandemic has caused the team to rely more heavily on one another for support, explaining that this semester has brought the team much closer together.

“We can't really be around others, so we depend on each other for a lot of different things,” she said.

Walker is a senior this semester, majoring in sport psychology. Once she graduates, Walker plans to continue pursuing her master’s.

When she is finished with her schooling, Walker wants to become established in the field of sports psychology in order to help universities address the mental health of their student athletes.

“I feel as if mental health in athletes is overlooked. I want to become a sports psychologist so that I can start helping,” Walker said, adding that she wants to aid colleges in creating a healthier atmosphere for student athletes whose mental health might be going unnoticed or ignored.

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