Beyond the game: Jacqueline Jeffcoat, senior forward

Sports Reporter
Jacqueline Jeffcoat, senior forward, dribbles down the court Oct. 28 at Strahan Coliseum.

Most people might have elaborate stories on how they started playing their favorite sport, but Jacqueline Jeffcoat, senior forward, had a simple reason: she looked pretty playing the game.

Jeffcoat was the only girl in the family and spent time with dolls while her brothers were outside playing sports.

Jeffcoat was about six years old when her aunt said she looked pretty playing basketball. Since then Jeffcoat has loved the game.

“I think it’s hilarious that that’s why I started playing basketball,” Jeffcoat said. “I’m sure it was inevitable for me to start playing, but she found what would work with me, and it was a great strategy. I was so girly, and telling me that I looked pretty doing something was the perfect push. I decided I was going to play basketball after that.”

Years later, Jeffcoat still makes an effort to look nice while playing the game. She strongly believes it’s okay to be feminine and still be an athlete. Jeffcoat likes to dress nicely, wear makeup and do her hair on and off the court.

Jeffcoat mentioned the players on the women’s basketball team portray themselves differently on the court. From the way they fix their hair to whether they wear makeup or put on headbands, each player has an individual style.

“We’re so girly, but we’re athletes as well,” Jeffcoat said. “We’re still competitors. I just think it’s important we can show girls that you can be feminine and be a successful athlete. I would want my daughters to know that they can still be best at what they’re doing, still be a woman and still aspire to have great career, get married or anything like that. I don’t think anything should be abnormal about that.”

Lisa Leslie, three-time WNBA MVP, wrote that girls could play basketball well in her book “Don't Let The Lipstick Fool You: The Making of a Champion.” Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson, other notable WNBA players made it a point to wear lipstick on the court.

“I just think it’s important that there are female athletes who actually embrace their female side,” Jeffcoat said. “You don’t have to be a tomboy to play basketball. You can be a lady. I think it’s so interesting and important because a lot of people don’t want their girls playing basketball because they think it’s a masculine sport or they think that their girls won’t be feminine enough.”

Jeffcoat started in all 29 games with the Bobcats for the 2013-2014 season. Jeffcoat averaged 4.5 rebounds and 3.8 points per contest. She received her first career double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

“I’m so excited,” Jeffcoat said. “I’m a little nervous because it’s my last season, so I obviously have to make it count. I can’t look back at this year and wish I had done more. I’m really trying to put my all into everything.”

Follow Brittnie Curtis on Twitter @BrittnieeNicole.