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Alexis Roberts overcoming the odds at JSU

Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 10:46 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Jackson State women’s basketball team will head to Baton Rouge, Louisiana this Saturday looking to make history and win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever.

However, should the Lady Tigers pull off the upset over LSU, it won’t even be the first feat the team accomplishes this season.

That piece of history happened last summer when JSU signed Newton High School center Alexis Roberts, making her the first deaf player in program history.

“When we were recruiting Alexis, we never thought for one second what our challenges would be,” said JSU head coach Tomekia Reed. “We just saw an athlete who was really good at what she did and we want her a part of our program.”

With Reed leading the charge, the program has welcomed Roberts with open arms and has made sure that they would provide every avenue to accommodate her disability, from the players and coaches learning some basic American Sign Language and having a school-employed interpreter attend every game and practice.

“When I first got here, I really didn’t think that people would support me,” said Roberts through interpreter Vickie Lewis. “But after I arrived, they were truly supporting me and it made me feel like they really wanted me here.”

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