By: Beau Baker
Some may know Melia Richardson as simply the point guard for Western’s women’s basketball team, but Melia Richardson brings more than just her basketball skills to the table.
Over the past four years, Richardson has developed from being a shy little freshman into a senior leader whom the team needs in order to be the best team they can possibly be. Head coach Rob Edmisson believes it is hard to put into words the transformation Richardson has made from then until now, especially after some of the struggles she had to deal with growing up.
“Her life circumstances forced her to be an adult way earlier than most kids have to be,” Edmisson said. “Her maturity level is way higher than you would believe it should be.”
Richardson grew up around an alcoholic dad throughout her adolescents and teenage years. There were times when she didn’t know when he would be coming home or if he would lash out at her mom and brother in a fit of rage when he did come home. Richardson’s mom raised her as a single mother during her teenage years.
When she was a senior in high school, Richardson’s mother ran into some trouble with the law. Once that happened, a family that Richardson’s mom became close with over the years decided to look after her during her mom’s absence. They helped her overcome all the darkness she had to endure as child and helped her decide to make a name for herself at Western.
During her playing career, Richardson has had teammates from all over the globe. She has played with people from England, Hawaii, Senegal, Brazil, New Zealand and Fiji.She believes it’s a unique thing to be able to surround herself with so many different personalities and hometowns.
Besides having different teammates from every corner of the globe the program hasn’t changed much during Richardson’s tenure here at Western.
“The goal has always been that we want to win,” Richardson said. “When I first came in, coach Ed said that we want to win, so that has always been the motivation from my freshman year until now.”
Richardson brings leadership to the team that her teammates and coaches greatly appreciate. Senior forward Cera Ledbetter believes that Richardson brings a unique form of leadership to the team, especially since she is the only player on the team that has been here for all four years under coach Edmisson.
“She knows his [Edmisson’s] expectations better than anybody else on the team,” Ledbetter said. “She transfers that to all the players so that we know exactly what he wants. She also pushes us to be our best on and off the court.”