Holding Court with Jackie Akers

Oct. 24, 2007

Leading up to the UCF women's basketball season opener against Texas Tech on Nov. 9, UCFAthletics.com will continue to introduce fans to the Knights in a series of feature interviews. Today's conversation spotlights junior center Jackie Akers. The native of Naples, Fla. talks about her role on the team, the balance of academics and basketball and her decision to study family law.

What does the team's motto "Prepare and Compete" mean to you?
It literally means to prepare for the games, getting ready physically and mentally. When the time comes to compete, you don't even have to think about it. You just go out there and do what you know.

There are nine freshmen on the roster and only three players with collegiate experience. How has the team started to come together?
We don't even think about that anymore. People do joke about it and say things, but we're a team. It doesn't matter if you're 18, 22 or 23. We do everything together.

What are you looking forward to most this season?
The conference championship. I think it's going to be great to play in the new arena. We do practice there, but it is going to be much different with fans. I can't wait to look up and see my mom in the stands. I think it's going to be great.

What is the best part of being on this UCF women's basketball team?
Having people that care so much about you. It is fun being in college, but it can also be one of the hardest times, too. Being a part of this team, you always have someone to turn to. There is always someone there for you.

UCF head coach Joi Williams and the rest of the staff have already begun to involve the team in community service. What charity or social cause would you like to help?
Anything that has to do with animals. As everyone knows, I am a huge animal lover - especially dogs. We've never really done anything with animals. I think it would be fun.

I love helping people in general. Anything I can do to help people I am gung-ho for. I'll do it any time of the day, but I would really like to do something with the Humane Society or anything to help out.

As one of the veterans, what do you see as your role on this year's team?
To lead them, definitely. I knew it even before the coaches asked me. I'm experienced and I know what is going on because I have done it before. I am here to help the new players along the way. They know what is going on because they are smart kids, but they still have questions. That's what I am here for.

You are working on your bachelor's degree in legal studies and your master's degree in criminal justice at the same time. How do you balance basketball with academics?
It's a lot of work, especially this year because I've started taking the classes for my master's . I am taking two of them.

It isn't hard if you work on your time management, laying out what you need to do and when to do it. If you're motivated, you can get it done.

What influenced you to pursue law, particularly family law, as a career?
I first thought about being a veterinarian because of my love for animals, but I could never watch an animal die.

My parents are both police officers. I knew I wanted to help people, but I didn't want a job where I put my life on the line. Studying law seemed to be the next best thing.

When I started taking legal studies classes, family law was something that fit because I like working with people. I was in middle of my parents' divorce and I want to be the mediator, helping keep kids out of that situation.

Season tickets are available for the women's basketball team's debut season at the new UCF Arena and can be purchased by calling 407-UCF-1000 or by surfing to UCFAthletics.com.

For the latest news and information on the Knights, tickets or apparel log on to www.ucfathletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. Also check out UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pics.