Less is more

Who said basketball players have to be giants?

Redshirt junior guard Alisha Andrews certainly doesn’t think so by competing in women’s basketball with a mere height of 4-feet-11-inches.

Andrews has embraced her height and made it a unique advantage for herself as a guard as well as an advantage for the team.

“I’m quicker than everybody,” Andrews said. “Most people go, ‘Ah, she’s little.’ They never expect a little person to do as much as I do.”

“I’m so close to the ground, I just get faster than everybody.”

On the court, Andrews is not afraid to get in opponents’ ways while getting her hands on the ball, even if they are a couple of inches taller.

“You got to try and mess with their dribble or when they post it in. You’ve got to front them,” Andrews said.

Andrews is an accomplished athlete finally going into her third year of college basketball after having to sit out a year after transferring from University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) per NCAA rules.

In her freshman year at UNCW, Andrews quickly made a name for herself leading freshman in the CAA in assists and steals and earned the CAA Rookie of the Year.

The next year, Andrews started all 33 games of the season, leading the team in scoring, assists and steals. Andrews found herself on the CAA All-Defensive Team.

Andrews faced Georgia State five times over two seasons with UNCW, losing the first and winning the subsequent four.

Andrews said the team she has joined at Georgia State is more competitive than past Georgia State teams she faced.

Andrews decided to transfer to Georgia State to be closer to her family who lives in metro-Atlanta. Andrews graduated from Redan High School in Stone Mountain, Ga.

“I love it, it’s home,” Andrews said about Georgia State University. “There’s nothing like your real family. Just playing a game and knowing that half my family may be here having a section to themselves, that feels good.”

This season, Andrews will finally return ready to continue where she left off, but now trying to leave her mark in the Sun Belt.

“It’s not really a transition,” Andrews said on moving into the Sun Belt, saying she believes the team can have more success in their new conference. “I think that everybody had one set goal, one common goal, and that’s just to do the best that we can and try and win the conference.”

Next to her little height, Andrews has a big sense of awareness that makes her an even more valuable teammate.

“I know exactly where everyone gonna be. Say someone is sprinting the floor, I just push…the ball to exactly where they’re going to be,” Andrews said.

Andrews and senior Kendra Long go way back, playing basketball together when they were 8-years-old and played Amateur Athletic Union basketball together on the Atlanta Celtics.

From then to now, Andrews and Long have become comfortable with each other on the court knowing exactly how the other plays.

“She [is] a good teammate,” Long said. “She knows wherever I’m at on the court, and I can catch all of her passes. It’s hard to catch her passes.”

Head coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener called Andrews “a spark,” adding that toughness, quickness and aggressiveness are qualities that make Andrews a great guard.

“She does a really good job handling the ball, and she keeps it low,” Baldwin-Tener said. “It’s hard for anybody to take it from her.”

Andrews has two seasons of eligibility left and hopes to go pro.

However, she’s got a backup plan just in case things don’t go as planned.

“I want to be an FBI agent,” Andrews said, a sociology major. “Maybe undercover because everybody keeps saying that I look so young so I could pass as a college or high schooler undercover.”

Andrews and the Panthers play in the WNIT Preseason Tournament Nov. 8-14 and then kick off their season at home against the University of Central Florida Nov. 19 at 6 p.m.