Whenever Iyree Jarrett steps onto the court, whether at Murichson Gymnasium or at an opponent’s gym, she always carries a little reminder on her shoe.
It’s a bible verse, usually written in black sharpie.
“Colossians 3:23, which is that whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as for serving the Lord, not for humans and this concept of an audience of one so being as one team,” Jarrett said.
That reminder is what allows Jarrett to play her game and not worry about anyone in the stands, and instead focus the ones on the court.
“I’m not trying to impress anyone or have this big ego. I’m trying to make the people around me better and play for God. He’s the one who has given me the abilities to play in the first place,” Jarrett told the News-Press with a huge smile.
And yet, while Jarrett does not try to impress anyone, the sophomore guard has certainly made some heads turn with her special play out on the court.
The Whittier, Calif. native leads Westmont in points per game (14.4) and assists per game (5.1), while also ranking second in field-goal percentage (44%).
In conference play alone, which saw Westmont go 17-1 and win the GSAC regular-season championship, Jarrett bumped most of her averages, including scoring 16.2 points per game, as she earned All-GSAC honors.
Despite being just a second-year, Jarrett is the team’s primary offensive creator.
“I love playing point guard. I mean, I love to play wherever they put me but I like to create from the one and to have that ability is exciting,” Jarrett said.
What makes Jarrett special, however, is her ability to rise to the occasion.
Against Vanguard a few weeks ago, Jarrett scored 20 points, but no two bigger than her game-winning layup as the buzzer sounded to keep her Warriors in the hunt.
One week later, in a rematch against The Master’s which defeated Westmont earlier in the year, Jarrett again came up big, scoring 10 of her 18 points in the final period to help the Warriors win.
“She’s just the real deal,” Westmont coach Kirsten Moore said of her sophomore guard.
And yet, if you ask Jarrett about her skills, she will always put the shine back on her teammates. It’s just the way she was raised.
“I just think we really work together as a team really well and so we know that in like end game situations, the other teams are really playing personnel and we’re really good at taking advantage of mismatches and different opportunities,” the humble guard said.
In fact, Jarrett believes it’s that lack of ego, not just from her but all her teammates, that makes Westmont as good as it is this season.
“There’s such a selflessness about every single person on the team. Seriously, no one is ever trying to take it upon themselves to fill their stat sheet, no one’s even worried about that ever. It’s always a team effort to get the job done and work as hard as we can collectively for 40 minutes. It’s really unique,” Jarrett said.
“We have such great trusting relationships and this year especially, we have gotten so close.”
Part of the reason the team has become such a tight-knit unit is the hardships it has overcome.
Westmont saw it’s star forward Sydney Brown go down in the team’s first game of the season in a blowout loss at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
Since then, however, the Warriors have gone 25-2 the rest of the season, despite having just eight active players on its roster, six of which get a majority of the playing time.
“It’s really amazing when you look back to our first game at Claremont and just how awful that game was. There were a lot of challenges, but I think as a team we really came together and said that we were going to like be more united instead of falling apart,” Jarrett said.
Winning solves all issues is the old adage.
Yet, even when Westmont was defeated by The Master’s 64-55 back on Jan. 20, Jarrett said the team never once turned on each other. In fact, all it did was motivate them for the second match-up, which saw Westmont win 56-44.
“Our team motto this season is ‘As iron sharpens iron, we sharpen each other.’ It’s from Proverbs and our goal as a team is to make each other better every single day again on and off the court. How we can do that is by trying to get rid of any arguing, any disagreements and really just come together, be united as a one which is what we have done,” Jarrett said.
Now, with the most important time of the season coming up, Jarrett continues believing her team is destined for greatness.
“I’m not in any of the other practices of the other teams, but I can really say that this is the hardest working team and to see that pay off in the national tournament would be wonderful,” Jarrett said.
“But, honestly, we are just looking forward to the GSAC tournament first and just fighting one game at a time.”
Westmont will host William Jessup or Hope International at 3:30 p.m. in the GSAC semifinals Friday at Murchison Gym.