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Sheppard back with FSU Lady Broncos after Middle East tour (2688 hits)

February 5, 2010

FAYETTEVILLE - In the moments after Fayetteville State's 82-66 win over Livingstone on Thursday (Feb 4), Shacovia Sheppard was worried about how many turnovers she had.

First-year head coach Eva Patterson-Heath scanned her stat sheet and told the junior forward that she turned the ball over twice in her first game action in nearly two years.

Not too long ago, Sheppard didn't have the luxury of focusing on game stats, be they hers or her teammates. She is also a sergeant in the U.S.

Sheppard drives to the hoop at 2008 CIAA Tourney
Army Reserves and recently returned from her second tour in the Middle East.

"It had its moments," said the Charleston, S.C., native, who enlisted in 2004 and has made year-long stops in Kuwait and Iraq. "Some days were good and some days were bad. I just had to adjust the best way I could."

In fact, Sheppard has become very good at adjusting to whatever situation is presented to her.

The oldest of four children, Sheppard always dreamed of attending college. However, after her mother Bernadette White took out a loan to pay for her first year at Fayetteville State, Sheppard said something had to give.

"My purpose for signing up was to help my mother out," Sheppard said. "I have three other siblings and I didn't want her to have to pay for me. I didn't want to be selfish, so I went out and figured something out on my own."

Unselfishness not only defines Sheppard in regards to her family and friends, but also on the basketball court.

"All I do is run up and down the court," she said. "I try to get steals, hit my layups and help my teammates out on defense."

Despite missing nearly two full seasons, Sheppard knows -- and is friends with -- many of FSU's current players, including seniors L'Oreal Price, Randi Watts and Tressa Aughburns and juniors Mercedes Humphries and Amanda Owens.

Before Thursday's game Sheppard only had been with the Broncos (12-6, 7-4 CIAA, 3-0 Western Division) for five days.

"It was crazy at the first practice because I didn't know what they were doing," she said. "But they helped me get back into the swing of things and everything was good."

Added Patterson-Heath: "From what I hear from everyone else is that she's such a hard-nosed player. We want that type on the court. When we need a rebound, we want to be able to put her in."

With only eight games remaining before the CIAA tournament, Patterson-Heath said she hopes Sheppard's determination to finish college and serve her country can be an inspiration to her teammates.

"It is so wonderful that she gave herself and her life to protect us," said Patterson-Heath. "We take so much for granted. If they really understand the sacrifices that she's made for all of us, hopefully they can see that and be appreciative of it."
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Sunday, February 7th 2010 at 2:48PM
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