In November, I saw Bradley University women’s basketball player Sierra Morrow compete in an NCAA Division I contest against the University of Minnesota women’s basketball team at Williams Arena.
Though it was a homecoming for the 6’1” junior forward, who starred at Minneapolis Edison—and one as well for 5’11” junior forward Tete Danso (Simley High School) and 5’9” senior guard Gabi Haack (Elk River High School)—there wasn’t much hype about the return.
Morrow fell under the radar during her prep career at Edison while quietly establishing herself as one of the state’s top players, then blossoming into an NJCAA All-American. She started playing at the varsity level as a middle-school student averaging 1.6 and 7.0 points respectively in seventh and eighth grade.
The next four seasons followed Morrow’s emergence as a top player with point-per-game averages of 16.5 (freshman season), 19.2 (sophomore season), 17.3 (junior season), and 21.7 (senior season).
Upon graduation in 2019, the outstanding rebounder and shot blocker spent the next two seasons at North Iowa Area Community College, averaging 15.6 points and 8.0 and 5.0 blocks per game as a freshman and 18.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.5 blocks during her sophomore campaign at Kansas Jayhawk Community College while also earning Conference Player of the Year honors.
That led to a scholarship offer from Bradley. She was in the starting lineup for the Braves in a 73-54 loss to the Gophers, scoring nine points and grabbing four rebounds in 30 minutes of action.
I was reminded of another connection when I ran into former Minneapolis North Mr. Basketball (1985), Western Kentucky University All-American, and current Minneapolis Edison Athletic Director Brett McNeal. He was watching his sons play for Twin Cities Academy in a boys’ basketball game at St. Paul Johnson.
“You know who coached her, don’t you?” McNeal asked with a smile. I knew exactly who he was talking about.
Tamara Moore and Faith Johnson Patterson each were head coaches during Morrow’s career at Edison. Moore led North to the Class 3A state championship in 1998, was named Ms. Basketball the same year, and is a member of the University of Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame.
Johnson Patterson led Minneapolis North to five Class 3A state girls’ basketball crowns (1998, ’99, ’03, ’04, ’05), was an all-state player at Marshall-University High School (1980), played collegiately at the University of Wisconsin (1980-1985) and became a Hall of Fame coach.
Sierra Morrow learned from the best.
Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald is a contributing columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.