Competition Breeds Success for Toledo Women’s Basketball Player

October 2, 2020 | Athletics, Features, Student Success, UToday, Business and Innovation
By Brian DeBenedictis

University of Toledo women’s basketball player Mariah Copeland eats, sleeps and breathes competition. Whether it is on the court, in the classroom, or volunteering in the community, Copeland just wants to win.

“I’m a competitive person, plain and simple,” Copeland said. “I strive to put my best foot forward in everything I do.”

Senior Mariah Copeland is always striving to put her best foot forward in everything she does as a member of the women’s basketball program.

Copeland has certainly stepped up in the classroom. A marketing major with a 3.386 cumulative grade-point average, Copeland has made UToledo’s dean’s list in each of the last three semesters and was named to the 2019-20 Academic All-Mid-American Conference Team. She compares getting good grades to making a big play on the court.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized for my academic efforts,” said Copeland, a senior who is also seeking a minor in finance. “I’m always competing against myself to do better in school. I think of academics as a competition. I’m always striving for excellence. Achieving a great GPA is equivalent to the feeling of sinking a three-point shot to win a basketball game.”

Copeland knows a little something about making shots from beyond the arc. On the court, she is one of the Rockets’ best outside shooters. Two years ago, Copeland finished tied for fifth on the team in three-point field-goals made.

Although she has seen limited playing time thus far in her collegiate career, Copeland has a reputation as being a hard worker who has made the most of her time on the floor.

“When I’m on the court, I work my tail off and do whatever I can to help my teammates get better and help the Rockets win,” Copeland said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s practice or a game, I give 110% and try to win the moment.”

Basketball player Mariah Copeland, right, loves to volunteer and meet kids.

Head Women’s Basketball Coach Tricia Cullop recognizes Copeland’s thirst for competition.

“Mariah is very intelligent, organized and driven to be successful both on and off the court,” Cullop said. “She is one of the best shooters on our team, is an outstanding teammate, and is a joy to be around.”

While Copeland has found success in academics and athletics during her first three years as a Rocket, she acknowledges that juggling the two can be difficult.

“Balancing basketball and school can be challenging at times,” said Copeland, who would like to work in some area of social media after graduating from UToledo. “What helps me most with juggling the two is organization and time management. I keep a planner with all my assignments and tests. I also set aside a couple hours each day to do my schoolwork, depending on my schedule. With basketball keeping me so busy, I always try to work ahead because you never know when something is going to just pop up.”

A local product and a graduate of Notre Dame Academy, Copeland enjoys a healthy competition with her teammates to see who can devote the most time to community service. She understands the importance in serving others and how fortunate she truly is.

Copeland and the Rockets have assisted with Connecting Kids with Meals, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Believe in Girls Event Expo, to name a few. Two years ago, Copeland logged 21 hours of community service, tied for the highest total on the team.

“Community service has always been an important part of my life, and I want to devote enough time to give back to my hometown,” said Copeland, a two-time Student-Athlete Advisory Committee team representative. “When I was little, my grandparents would take me places throughout the city to help out those in need. Then when I was in high school, I continued to assist the community with many other great organizations. And currently at UToledo, my teammates and I are always keeping tabs who gets the most service honors. We have had many opportunities to give back to some great people that support our program.”

With only one year left at UToledo, Copeland is itching to get one final opportunity to compete for the Midnight Blue and Gold.

“I hope my teammates and I get another opportunity to compete against each other on the court, in the classroom and with community service,” Copeland said. “Basketball only lasts so long. I want to take advantage of my time left here, compete hard, and do my best.”

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