UMSL's Alex LaPorta Achieves 1000 Career Points
By Kaelin Triggs --- Guest Writer
Alex LaPorta, senior forward for University of Missouri-St. Louis women’s basketball team, recalls the first game back from winter break as just another ordinary game. It wasn’t until half time when LaPorta’s teammates began to congratulate her on her achievement. On Jan. 3, LaPorta scored her 1,000th career point against William Jewell, becoming the 19th Triton in program history to do so.
According to LaPorta, she remembers seeing a few articles going into the game saying how close she was to scoring her 1,000th point. However, she didn’t know which basket gave her the achievement until after the game.
“My parents were watching the game on live stream and they sent me a video of the point,” LaPorta said. “I remember thinking ‘it was that one, that was like a roller. It didn’t even look like it was going in.”
The best part of this achievement, in LaPorta’s mind, was sharing it with her teammates. She said they deserve just as much credit because she wouldn’t have been able to score as many points without having great teammates who could get her the ball. According to LaPorta, ever since she has joined the team, each player sets each other up for success.
LaPorta’s athletic career started in her early toddler years. She began playing basketball for a non-profit Christian sports organization called Upward. According to LaPorta, she competed in a lot of different sports while growing up in an athletic household.
Alex LaPorta grew up with four siblings who all played sports and continued their athletic careers on the collegiate level. Olivia LaPorta played Volleyball at Fordham University in Bronx, New York. The youngest of the siblings, Bella laPorta, competes in volleyball, basketball and soccer as a Junior at Highland Highschool and just committed to play Volleyball at William Jewell. Lastly, Sam LaPorta is a sophomore tight end for Iowa’s football team.
“All of my siblings and I have always been competitive, including my parents,” LaPorta said. “My parents sacrificed so much time and money for us to be able to play club sports. We are four for four (on competing in college) and so we are proud of that.”
According to LaPorta, she played almost every sport that a kid could play growing up. She has tried everything from soccer, which she mentioned being terrible in because she was bad with her feet, to volleyball, competitive swimming and even softball. However, LaPorta said basketball is what stuck with her the most.
LaPorta said she decided to continue playing basketball in college rather than any other sport based on the knowledge she would miss basketball if she decided to quit. Katie Vaughn, UMSL women’s basketball coach, said LaPorta’s tendency to play hard caught the coaching staff’s attention in the recruiting process.
“She was just over the river in Highland and we saw her play in a high school tournament,” Vaughn said. “Her hard work just drew us to her. Playing hard, you just can’t teach that. We really thought we found a diamond in the rough with Alex.”
Vaughn said they went into the game against William Jewell with the same mindset as any other game. According to Vaughn, there was no doubt LaPorta was going to score her 1,000th career point on the first game back after winter break.
Vaughn described LaPorta as a work horse. Vaughn said LaPorta is always giving her all in any position and any drill the team is doing. LaPorta is dedicated to doing her best on a daily basis, according to Vaughn.
“There is not a practice in the last three and a half years where I have thought that Alex did not work hard,” Vaughn said. “We always know Alex will bring it. Practice, games, on the floor or off the floor. It’s contagious. She brings a lot to the team and sets the tone to how they need to prepare for practice and approach everyday.”
According to LaPorta, the people she met at UMSL have changed her life for the better. She said she was able to open her perspectives moving from a small town such as Highland, Illinois where everyone knows each other, to a bigger city such as St. Louis.
Vaughn believes in the transition from high school to college, a player needs to focus a lot more on grades. She said she helped her players, including LaPorta, understand this dedication to school and how to use the resources UMSL has for their student athletes. According to Vaughn, LaPorta really worked hard on this understanding.
Now LaPorta, who graduated a semester early, is pursuing her M.A. LaPorta is also vice president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). Along with these accolades, she finished last semester with a 4.0 gpa. Vaughn said these are all signs of her dedication to UMSL off the court and it sets the tone for incoming freshmen.
LaPorta said she had to grow into the role she is in now at UMSL. As a freshman, LaPorta said she wasn’t as much a leader as some of her teammates but they showed her the ropes to become one. Now, because of her teammates, LaPorta believes she knows the difference between a good and bad leader.
“Over the years, I’ve worked on becoming a better leader,” LaPorta said. “ I really focused on myself first and leading by example just became really important to me."
LaPorta, Vaughn and the rest of the women’s basketball team at UMSL are really looking forward to the rest of the season. According to LaPorta, they have a lot of leaders this year and people who are all in. She is hoping for a good postseason run with this team.
As of now, the GLVC is planning to host the women’s basketball conference tournament from March 4th to March 7th. All games will be streamed lived.