Women’s basketball star excels on and off court

February 16, 2010

By Katherine Restrepo ’12, with photos by David Sinclair

Although Ali Moreland may be known for her savvy quickness and ninja hands on the basketball court, the Green Terror shooting guard excels beyond the sport she has passionately and competitively played her entire life. The senior women’s basketball captain stands out not only as an athlete clad in green and gold with number 10 across her chest, but also is a student, friend and teammate. As her teammates know all too well, it is tough to guard that girl in practice.

“The past four years have been everything I expected and more,” Moreland says as she reminisces with satisfaction.  Now a senior at McDaniel College, Moreland has accomplished quite a lot in the four years of her career as a student-athlete.

On a recent evening after returning from her internship at Baltimore Orioles’ Corporate Sponsorship in Baltimore, Moreland curls up in pink-and-white blankets in her Pennsylvania Avenue apartment to wind down after a long day of work. Hues of pink, orange and yellow roses decorate her mantle and coffee table, and shout out congratulations on scoring her 1,000th career point Feb. 3 in a conference win against the Dickinson Red Devils during what has been a successful 17-6 season. The team takes on Gettysburg on Feb. 20 but has already earned a play-off berth.

Ali Moreland making her 1,000th point Feb. 3 vs. Dickinson.

Because basketball season begins in mid-October and stretches on till late February, keeping up with classes requires efficient time management and prioritizing.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Moreland’s day starts with the ring of her alarm at 7:45 a.m.  Ready to seize the day with her usual breakfast of an apple and a bagel, she hops in her white SUV and hits the road by 8:30 a.m. to avoid possible beltway traffic on her way to her internship with the Baltimore Orioles’ Corporate Sponsorship.  From 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., she updates Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, helps account managers with current projects and deals with sponsorship contracts.

“Networking is so important, which is why I love my internship,” Moreland says, taking a bite of a carrot-cake cupcake.  “You meet and form relationships with new people every day.”

Along with her daily commute to Baltimore and back, she manages her workload in her two other classes, Chinese Art History and Principles of Marketing.  Back to campus in time for a demanding two-hour practice under the direction of head coach Becky Martin, mental preparation is needed.

But Moreland’s work ethic does not stop there. Her competitive edge extends from the court into the academic atmosphere with a raw energy. This past semester, she earned classroom credits for joining the Fed Team with teammate Sally Grace under the coordination of Kevin McIntyre, an associate professor of Economics and Business Administration. The Fed Team, according to Moreland, prepares a “presentation of graphs of what’s going on with the state of the economy.”

After months of preparation, the group presented their data in front of economists at the Baltimore branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.  A 30-minute, question-and-answer period followed their presentation.  Challenging?  Yes.  Intimidating?  Hardly.  Obstacles and challenges are what this student-athlete thrives on.

Among the reasons Moreland chose McDaniel is its size. “I wanted to go small so I could succeed on both the court and in the classroom,” says Moreland, a Business Administration major with a minor in Sports Management. Moreland says the liberal arts program has also given her an opportunity to branch outside of her prime focus with classes that involve her love for writing.

Terry Dalton, a Journalism professor, considers Moreland an excellent student. “Her writing and reporting skills were top of the line, and she took constructive criticism very well,” he says.

Moreland also enjoys reading, spending lots of time with family and playing almost any sport.

“Sports have always been a huge part of my life and have definitely prepared me for the real world,” says Moreland. “Handling a busy schedule for the majority of the school year has enabled me to get a grasp on time management and to accomplish set goals.”

Aside from forming close relationships with teammates, Moreland says that collegiate athletes help prepare for life by handling pressure situations that are thrown at them during the heated moments of a game.  Life lessons are learned in both practice and games, from perfecting an offense with the dependence upon others to dealing with various personalities.  In essence, life is a sport.

In addition to being an avid competitor, Moreland is a true leader and friend. She enjoys spending her days with everyone both on and off the court.  She, along with the rest of the women’s basketball team, endures the same ups and downs – the intensity of a pre-game locker-room talk on the cold cement floor, the heavy feeling of a loss that dwells in the pit of your stomach, or the roller-coaster emotions of an overtime win.

“Being with your team is totally different from just meeting new people around campus.  Nobody else can share those feelings,” says Moreland.

As Moreland savors the many moments of victory and success, she prepares for the rest at the same time. In the words of coach Becky Martin, “Ali is a fierce competitor who is determined to doing what it takes to be successful and improve her game and help raise the level of play of her team.”