Beeson Takes Seriously her Role as a Women's Basketball Team Captain

Senior Guard is a Liaison Between Players and Coaches

By Jessie Yi, Athletics Department Intern

SALEM, ORE. -- Alexa Beeson, a senior captain from Portland, Oregon, on the Willamette University women’s basketball team, understands the meaning of teamwork, consistency, and support. This knowledge has been demonstrated throughout her career at Willamette.

With eight years of basketball experience, which she considers shorter than the average for her teammates, she has still managed to be elected as a team captain for the past two years.

“I wouldn’t say I’m particularly talented or skilled, but I’m willing to work hard and listen to try to make up for that. Eight years isn’t very much — there are some people who have been playing their whole lives,” she said. Beeson believes, however, that her position of captain came to her because of her commitment to the team and to the program.

“I took on more logistic responsibilities over the team, such as remind them of practice times, and coordinating retreats," she noted. "I became a liaison between the team and the coaches. Being a resource for them became my responsibility.”

Head Coach Peg Swadener is in her second year of coaching at Willamette, and Beeson has enjoyed every moment of it. “She gave the program, us as a team, a vision and expectations that we want to uphold, and they’re clear expectations. We can trust where she’s taking the program. Everything she does benefits the program,” Beeson said.

“She’s been a great mentor through all of it,” Beeson added. “Despite challenges of turning the program around, she continues to stay positive. Even though it doesn’t reflect in our record, we as a team have made progress. She’s real and truthful — she doesn’t feed you any nonsense.”

Even with a 1-10 Northwest Conference record, there are still five games left in the season for the Bearcats to fight for, three of which are on the home court. The next two games are Feb. 14 and Feb. 15 at Willamette against Lewis & Clark College and the University of Puget Sound, and Beeson is feeling optimistic.

“Playing at home is always an advantage, and it’s always fun to play in front of a crowd. It helps with the momentum. They will be good opportunities to win,” she said.

The Tokyo International University of America exchange students are scheduled to attend a game for the first time on Friday, and Saturday’s game is dedicated to faculty and staff appreciation. Both are games where high attendance is expected.

However, another big game creeping up in the back of Beeson’s mind is Senior Day on Feb. 21.

“I don’t want to think about Senior Night because that means this is almost over,” she said. “These are the last two weeks I’ll be playing with these ladies, so I’m thinking more about living in the moment rather than behind me.”

While Beeson’s focus is firmly on winning the last five games of the season, it is clear that everything in her experiences have created a student-athlete with the power to leave a legacy for her younger teammates.

Willamette senior guard Alexa Beeson has played in in 85 games during her career for the Bearcats.

Willamette senior guard Alexa Beeson has played in in 85 games during her career for the Bearcats.

Alexa Beeson hauled down a career-high 9 rebounds in WU's 72-60 win over Berry College (Ga.) on Dec. 18, 2013.

Alexa Beeson hauled down a career-high 9 rebounds in WU's 72-60 win over Berry College (Ga.) on Dec. 18, 2013.