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Féquière Beloved On and Off The Court

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Jessica Féquière was never highly recruited. She never made a high school all-star team or was ever really taken seriously as a potential basketball star. She had always been overlooked.

That was until she stepped on to the University at Albany campus as a freshman in 2014.

Five years and four consecutive America East conference championships later, as the redshirt senior closes in on her fifth and final season with the Purple and Gold, she can’t help but be thankful for everything that being a Great Dane has allowed her to accomplish on and off the court.  

Growing up in Montréal, Féquière was required to attend three years of junior college after high school before she could attend a four year university. She used those three additional years to work on her game and perfect her craft.

Her senior season with UAlbany will be one to remember for the Montréal native, regardless of how it ends. Féquière is averaging a career-high 19 points per game and leads the team with 40 steals this season, up from her previous scoring average of 12.5 PPG and 39 total steals in 2016-17. She’s also learned to be a vocal leader and role model for the younger players on the team.

During her time with UAlbany, all she’s done is win. The Danes have won six straight conference championships, four of which Féquière has been a part of. As she prepares for a run at title number five, she attributes one of the main reasons for her success to her calmness in the biggest moments.

“Pressure? I don’t really believe in pressure. Pressure is more an opportunity to get better or do whatever people say you couldn’t do,” said Féquière. Pressure, if you call it pressure, I love pressure. I love the hard stuff.”

Looking back now, family is extremely important to her and when given the opportunity to play close to home, it was something she couldn’t pass up.

“I wanted to stay close to home and Albany’s only three and a half hours away. The athletics is good but I wanted to go to a good school as well. It was the total package.”

Her growth over her five years in the Purple and Gold is about more than just her success on the court.

A large part of her growth has been off it, something she attributes to the philosophy of her first ever collegiate head coach, Coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson. Henderson coached Féquière her first three seasons in the Capital District.

“Coach Abe really opened my eyes about school and basketball. Her goal was never to make you a good basketball player, but a good person,” Féquière said.

This philosophy helped Féquière become more disciplined. She started to pay more attention to details and look at the bigger picture. It was never just about right now.

When asked about her legacy and how she wants to be remembered when she hangs up the Purple and Gold uniform, Féquière is adamant about not wanting to be defined just by her play on the court. For her it’s about so much more.

“I don’t want to be remembered as a good basketball player but as a good teammate, leader, role model, captain. I don’t want my teammates to say I was good because I could shoot the ball,” Féquière said.

Féquière’s favorite on-court moment was a game she never even played in. It speaks to her unselfish team-first attitude. During her junior season, Féquière suffered a season-ending injury that sidelined her for the entirety of the 2015-16 campaign. While on the other hand, her teammates fought to make program history.

With a 61-59 victory over the five-seeded Florida Gators on March 16, 2016, the Great Danes won their first-ever NCAA Tournament game. The team rushed the court to celebrate. Féquière never hit the court during the game but for her, it’s a moment she’ll never forget. A moment of sweet redemption, a moment of validation.

“It was crazy. The emotions of it. I don’t know how to describe. It was an unbelievable feeling,” said Féquière.

Although Féquière’s favorite basketball player is NBA Superstar LeBron James and models her own game to James’ based on the versatility she displays on the court, her biggest influence growing up was never someone who played collegiate/professional basketball.

She credits her hard-working mentality to her older brother, who she grew up with and was always there for her. His advice?

“Never let people doubt you. Don’t listen to the noise behind you. Hard work always pays off,” said Féquière.

When Féquière takes the court for the final time, whenever that will be, she’ll miss it all. Her family-like bond with her teammates, the laughs, making fun of each other on the bus, her relationships with her coaches, and of course the winning.

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to say goodbye to be honest. Basketball has been a part of my life forever,” Féquière said. “I don’t know how I’m going to react. It’s all I know.”

The years in junior college are finally paying off. The extra experience that has allowed Féquière to perfect her craft and her game is translating brilliantly on the court.

With program legends Shereesha Richards and Imani Tate both graduated, the girl who was always overlooked coming into college is now the one running the show at SEFCU Arena. When she graduates in May, Féquière will be a 24-year-old senior.

Regardless of what comes next, she’s ready to embrace whatever is next for her post-basketball life, even if she isn’t exactly sure what that will be yet. She knows everything the 518 has given her on and off the court will allow her to succeed no matter what life throws at her next.

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Rob "Lep" Lepelstat is the assistant sports editor of the Albany Student Press. Along with the ASP, Lepelstat works as a producer for ATV and director for WCDB's sports department. During the summer of 2017, he interned at WABC-TV in New York City.

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