Adryan Alvarez, a sophomore business major and number 3 on the University of Dallas women’s basketball team, has been awarded “Player of the Week” by the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1 during the winter break. Alvarez said that her motivation to play the sport came from her only older brother when she was around three to four years old.
“What inspired me to play basketball was probably my brother just because he played basketball,”said Alvarez. “I always wanted to be around him.”
Although at first it was a way to spend more time with her brother, the sport became something more to her. Basketball became an outlet for the difficulties that come along with being a student athlete as well as a place of mental sanctuary.
Because of this relationship with the sport, Alvarez was elated to be sought out by UD’s women’s basketball coach, Bri Sims. The consistent effort, on the part of Sims, to make Alvarez feel like a valuable asset to the team is what primarily inspired Alvarez to commit to UD in 2021.
Both the support and example of her parents, who Alvarez said are her role models, are another reason why she believes she has succeeded as a collegiate level student athlete.
“They had me and my brother at a young age,” Alvarez said. Her parents’ fortitude in continuing to pursue their degrees to provide for their family is what inspires Alvarez to continue pushing herself.
“I’ve actually considered quitting basketball many times,” Alvarez said, “but what helped me push through and to keep playing was just knowing my parents didn’t raise a quitter.”
Alvarez’s favorite personal performance in her college career so far has been a game where she dominated the court with her team.
“I had a 30 point game,” Alvarez said. “I had never done that before, so that was cool.”
This new personal record, along with strong starts to each season with her team, are her favorite memories so far.
Excelling in academics as well as athletics is a balance that is difficult to achieve, according to Alvarez. However, it is empowering to close a hard day at school doing what she loves most:
“My favorite part [of being a student athlete] would have to be knowing that I have school throughout the day and then being able to finish it off with basketball,” Alvarez shared. “And so always knowing I’m able to still continue playing the sport I love while also getting my education.”
Alvarez believes that more attention needs to be given to women’s sports in general, basketball no less than the others.
“Women’s sports in general are underappreciated. I think people tend to pay more attention to men just because it’s a faster pace and it’s more aggressive, but I feel like if people actually watched women’s basketball, they would be able to enjoy it just as much,” she explained.
Alvarez noted that although attention is lacking in women’s sports, it is not lacking among her fellow students at UD.
“Everybody supports everybody,” Alvarez shared. “I’ve had times where I’ll be sitting in the caf and somebody would just walk up to me and start talking to me, that I’ve never seen before. That’s kind of given me more reason to be social.”
In regards to her recent SCAC award, Alvarez said that she rose from a “slump” to achieve new heights in her collegiate career — a feat that Alvarez describes as “frustrating,” but possible with support from her coach and well worth it.
“I’m technically known as a shooting guard, and before that weekend, my shot had been off. I hadn’t been there mentally, just because I was so frustrated with how my shot had been, how I had been performing in previous games. And I kind of remember before that game, my coach came up to me and was like, ‘Hey, this is a game that we’re gonna need your threes’ and I made that first one,” Alvarez said. “That kind of gave me confidence, and I think that’s just what kind of followed throughout the whole week.”
Alvarez attributes her success to the constant support of her team, coaches and especially her parents.
“It’s not just a one person sport so I obviously couldn’t have done that by myself. My teammates helped me out. My coach helped me out. All my coaches helped me out,” Alvarez shared. “My parents continue to give me support after games even if I’ve done bad, or if I hadn’t done my best, just always trying to keep things positive.”