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Thread: Article on "Zee" in the Gonzaga Bulletin

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    1,394

    Default Article on "Zee" in the Gonzaga Bulletin

    Here is a nice article on Ms. Rice in the Gonzaga Bulletin:

    After limited minutes in first two years with Zags, Zykera Rice finds success in starting role

    Brianna Vasquez | Staff Writer Jan 31, 2018

    Recognized for her electric blue hair to match her outgoing personality on and off the court, Zykera Rice, commonly know to her friends and family as ‘Z’, has become a crucial part to the Gonzaga women’s basketball lineup.

    Before her junior year, Rice had some minutes on the court but nowhere near the influence she has in the present day. As one of the starting five, you can identify Rice on the court by being a fighter for every ball.

    Rice, who was used to just being a part of the team, has fully embraced the family aspect it brings. What has been different about this season is her need to embrace being a leader.

    “Now, I feel like I am a part of a bigger piece of the team,” Rice said.

    To her, being a leader means giving her best and being consistent. This year has taught Rice to be someone who her teammates can turn to and someone to set expectations.

    “She’s always been a really supportive person, but I think knowing she’s a leader on the team has pushed her to really be there for each of her teammates,” friend Maddy Martinez said.

    Rice’s teammates and coaches have helped her develop into a better scorer, rebounder and all around player.

    “She has transformed her post up game as far as how hard she works in there. She really demands the basketball,” said head coach Lisa Fortier. “She’s a very high percentage shooter and the most physical player we have on the team. I think she has really taken coaching and taken the desire to want to be a better player and put it into action.”

    While not far from her hometown of Tacoma, , Rice’s team has become her family, and like a family they are a constant support system. Rice attributes her willingness to grow and her positivity to a great team atmosphere. The uplifting and caring environment encourages Rice to perform to the best of her abilities on the court, no matter if it is practice or a game.

    “[This year] has taught me a lot about myself as a player and a teammate,” Rice said. “In college you try to do a better job in being the example for your lower classmen so you act different, in a positive way.”

    Since she began playing basketball in second grade, Rice has stood taller than those on the floor with her, which made her stand out and played to her advantage.

    “In my first [basketball] practice, they put me in the wrong class because I was really tall, so I was playing with eighth graders and I had no idea what was going on,” Rice said. “Once they figured it out I had to switch gyms and do a whole other practice.”

    Basketball clicked once Rice started playing at the club level. It was that competitive level that challenged her and made her embrace her strengths and improve on the aspects that did not come as easy.

    Her love for sports was given to her by her parents, who both played basketball. Rice also inherited a love for her parents’ second favorite sport: roller skating.

    However, Rice draws her biggest inspiration from her brother AJ Middleton, who is the Football Strength and Conditioning Coach at BYU. He also played football in high school at the University of Puget Sound and then went overseas and played in Germany.

    “I am very family oriented. I love being around my family,” Rice said. “There is just something about being around everyone who is like you. It is pretty much like being around yourself all of the time.”

    One of her family’s weekly traditions is Sunday church. Because Rice’s faith is one of her biggest driving aspects, choosing a college where she could, not only practice her basketball skills, but also be encouraged to practice her faith was very important.

    For Rice, being at GU has only strengthened her relationship with God in all aspects of life and with that has strengthened her on and off the court.

    “Being here [my faith] is not something I would need to attempt to shy away from,” Rice said. “I understand that I am really playing to glorify all the talents and great things God has given me and am trying to make sure I present that every day. This just happened to be the route that God chose for me and I am really appreciative of that.”

    Rice isn’t solely depending on basketball as a career path. An international relations major with a concentration in Arabic, Rice has the hopes of becoming a linguist. With a skill of learning and memorizing languages, Rice is currently fluent in English, Spanish and is learning Arabic. She hopes to add more languages to her language library.

    Rice took Running Start in high school and will be graduating in the spring, after which she will pursue her Master’s degree in the summer.

    “[GU has] given me a family and community, and that, although basketball is important, our team stresses that it is not the only thing on the planet and there are much more important things than basketball,” Rice said.
    Way to Go, "Z".

    ZagDad

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Colville, Wa.
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    11,789

    Default

    Thanks ZD. Very nice.
    Man, could I use a Taco right about now.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    146

    Default

    Her best is yet to come. Love her 'attitude'...she will 'shine' in March!!!!

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