Former UAA athlete Sierra Afoa becomes assistant coach

For those who keep up with women’s basketball at UAA, you may remember the starting center from last season, Sierra Afoa. Former student and athlete, she is now the new assistant coach for the women’s basketball team at UAA.

Sierra Afoa, former member of the women’s basketball team, is now an assistant coach for the Seawolves. She coaches alongside her sister and former player, Shaina. Photo credit: Young Kim

Before graduating with a degree in social work, Afoa played on the women’s basketball team throughout her four years at UAA. Although she didn’t expect to get into coaching, she has had experience through the camps she and the rest of the team hosted during her time as a player.

Her dad is also a coach for volleyball at a local high school and her sister is the associate head coach for the women’s basketball team.

“It’s kind of in my family,” Afoa said. “But I was leaning more towards the social work aspect of things. It’s kind of a surprise to everyone, I think.”

Throughout her four years on the team, Sierra Afoa’s sister, Shaina, was an assistant coach at the same time. Shaina Afoa is still coaching, so it is clear to see that there is a new dynamic sister-duo in store for the women’s basketball team.

Sometimes, Shaina gave Sierra a harder time than others, but it was because she had such high expectations.

“My first year… it was hard to figure out that, like, relationship and then by my senior year it was fine,” Afoa said. “I think we were all treated equally. I think she just had super high expectations for me.”

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It is typical for individual athletes or sports teams as a whole to have a pre-game ritual. In case you were wondering about any pre-game rituals Afoa had, she would “always listen to the same exact song before every single game for four years.”

As far as the 2018 season goes, pre-season training started at the beginning of September and consists of conditioning three times a week, individual skill development and weights three times a week.

“We keep them busy,” Afoa said.

The first official day of practice will be in mid-October as they prepare for their first game where they’ll be traveling to North Carolina to play Duke University.

Despite her new job as assistant coach, Afoa still plays basketball in her free time.

“I play at a women’s league at the YMCA with both of my sisters,actually,” Afoa said. “Then there’s a couple of girls that graduated from UAA that are on my team like Jenna Buchanan, Christina Davis… And then, it’s like a lot of girls that my sisters played with in high school, so we’re just like the ‘retired team.’”