Ainhoa Cea’s journey to play basketball at Lipscomb is one unlike any other. The freshman point guard from Spain didn’t even know of Lipscomb until a few months before the school year started.
Hailing from Hondarribia, Spain, Cea decided at the end of her senior year in high school she wanted to try to play college hoops in the United States.
“I didn’t even think about coming to the States at all to play basketball while I was in high school,” Cea said.
Even though coming to America for basketball was never on her agenda, Cea’s interest peaked quickly. “By the time it was April [of my senior year], I wasn’t really finding [any colleges] to play at. Then DME, a prep school, got in contact, and I decided to try it for a year,” Ainhoa added.
Direct Mail Express, also known as DME Academy in Daytona Beach, Florida, offered Cea a spot on their roster for a post-graduate year. She hoped that DME would extend an outlet into college hoops in the United States, but with that, she would have to leave her home country of Spain.
Not only was deciding to leave her home a hard decision but there would be many more barriers she had to overcome when moving across the pond to Florida.
“I’ve always been super shy talking in English, especially in class, but I realized I had to speak English all the time now if I wanted to survive,” Cea mentioned.
Cea completed her postgraduate year at DME, finishing with two offers from division two schools. At the end of the year, she looked to compete in one more tournament before deciding. Although those were her intentions, Lipscomb showed up to her last tournament and made her an offer she couldn’t refuse.
“It was going to be the last tournament that I played here because I was ready to go home. I was going to make my decision where to go [between two division two schools] and go home for the summer. Then the day after the tournament, the assistant coach called me and offered me, the next day, I committed without taking a visit or anything,” said Cea.
Despite the fact Cea hadn’t stepped foot on campus, head coach Lauren Sumski convinced her to bring her talents to Lipscomb.
“I talked with the head coach on the phone for three hours, and she really convinced me,” she admitted.
After committing, she found her way to Nashville and realized she had made the right choice. Not only were the coaches and campus appealing, but the connections on the team are another important factor in why Cea feels at home.
“Of the court, we’ve built this family, and it is really cool to just spend time with them,” Cea happily mentioned.
With all of the connections they’ve made off the court, it is clear that it benefits the on-court performance. Lipscomb is one win away from a 20-win season, which hasn’t happened since the 2003-04 team.
“It is really fun to play with this team. We all like each other a lot and we have built a lot of chemistry. I know what my teammates are going to do and they know what I’m going to do on the court,” Cea said enthusiastically.
The last-minute offer by Lipscomb to the starting point guard has helped the team in numerous ways. Cea’s assets have catapulted Lipscomb to a remarkable season.
Lipscomb has one more regular season game, which will take place March 1st against FGCU at 6 pm in Allen Arena. The Bisons have also clinched the three seed in the ASUN Tournament that begins on March 4th.
Live coverage for the FGCU game on March 1st can be found on The Bison.