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STANFORD, Calif. - Countless hours of work, games won and championships earned... and they're not done yet. Alyssa Jerome and Anna Wilson will both use their extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA and return for the 2021-22 season.
"I am very excited Anna and Alyssa will be returning next season," said The Setsuko and Ishiyama Director of Women's Basketball Tara VanDerveer. "They are both outstanding student-athletes and bring so much to both our team and the campus community overall. This is a unique opportunity for them to play an extra year, and I look forward to the opportunity to coach both for another season."
Already cemented as one of the program's all-time greatest leaders, Jerome has appeared in 128 games in her career, making 26 starts. A consistent and versatile contributor for the Cardinal, one of her top moments on the court happened this past season, as she came off the bench in a tight battle at Oregon State and exploded for a career-high 14 points including four 3-pointers, igniting the team past the Beavers. Owning over 300 points and 200 rebounds in her career, Alyssa has spent time off the court as a research assistant in Sparks Lab and will earn her bachelor of science in human biology this spring, ready to embark on a coterminal degree next year in community health and prevention research.
"I'm really excited to be coming back to Stanford next year," said Jerome. "This program has meant so much to me, I couldn't say no when I was given the opportunity to return. After being thrown so many obstacles this season and having to overcome so much adversity, our team became closer than I could have ever imagined. We stuck together and ended the year with the best imaginable outcome: a national championship. I am so proud of this group of women and look forward to working with them every day next year to continue to reach our goals. Being able to spend another season with this team at a school as amazing as Stanford is something I am very grateful for."
Returning for what will be her sixth season with the team, Wilson took her game to another level and enjoyed the best run of play of her career in 2020-21, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, named the Pac-12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year. Consistently drawing the toughest matchup and guarding the opposing team's top perimeter player, Wilson asserted herself as a lock-down defender, holding her opponents to under their yearly average in scoring nearly every time on the court. Having only started five games prior to this season, she started all 33 games this year, notching highs this season in points (153), rebounds (123), assists (68), steals (49) and made 3-pointers (28). With over 400 career points, nearly 300 career rebounds and 150 career assists, Wilson has already completed her undergraduate degree in art practice and is wrapping up her coterminal degree in media studies. She is set to take classes at Stanford's Graduate School of Business next year.
"My time at Stanford has been one that has had its share of ups and downs," said Wilson. "While this year presented its unique challenges, I wouldn't have traded it for anything. Coming off of a national championship during one of the toughest seasons of playing the sport imaginable, I am excited to take on new challenges and discover more of what Stanford has to offer. It has been a privilege to play with the best teammates in the country, and if I could specify a reason for returning, it's the people. I am convinced I wouldn't be the person or player I am today without my coaches and our support staff. You have shaped my character. There's no place like Stanford -- the best of all worlds. I know whatever I face in this next chapter I will lean on the lessons learned this year. I have always believed and will carry with me that unexpected situations are just vehicles for God to show up and work good things through them. I hope to lead with love, play with resilience and bring energy to everything I do."
The Cardinal will defend its national championship only losing one player from the 2021 title team that went 31-2, winning both the Pac-12 regular season and tournament championships.