Always a Panther: Former Pantherette Representing USA in Tokyo Olympics


Ariel Atkins dribbling basketball
Photograph credit score Duncanville ISD

Ariel Atkins In The Nationwide Highlight At Summer time Olympics

On the age of 24, Ariel Atkins has already constructed a storied basketball profession. She’s a two-time state champion with the Duncanville Pantherettes, a former standout on the College of Texas and a WNBA champion with the Washington Mystics. Now, Ariel is headed to play basketball with the world watching.

In late June, Ariel was chosen to characterize the US in Tokyo as a member of the USA Nationwide Ladies’s Basketball Workforce. The dignity got here after greater than a yr of competing within the USA Nationwide Workforce’s qualifying camps across the nation.

“You hope to place your greatest foot ahead on the camps and hope you may be an asset to assist the crew win a gold medal,” Ariel stated. “It’s not nearly whether or not you’re good or not. There’s a variety of girls who could possibly be in these positions, however they construct a crew as they see match and see who performs nicely collectively.”

A Success Story On The Basketball Court docket

Ariel’s basketball journey is successful story. As a Duncanville Pantherette, her crew received two state championships. They received 105 straight video games from December of 2011 by means of February of 2014. She helped her College of Texas girls’s basketball crew make it to the NCAA event Candy 16 three out of her 4 years in faculty. In 2016, the Longhorns made all of it the way in which to the Elite Eight. In 2018, Ariel was drafted quantity seven by the Washington Mystics. That yr, she was named to each the WNBA All-Rookie Workforce and the All-Defensive Second Workforce. The Mystics made it to the WNBA Finals in 2018. In 2019, they received the WNBA Championship.

Ariel attributes a lot of her success to her dad and mom – who taught her how you can focus and get issues achieved, to not dwell on the previous, however to maintain pushing ahead. She credit her highschool basketball coach, Cathy Self-Morgan, with mentoring her on the court docket and off.

“I feel Coach Self ready me rather well for highschool and faculty, and he or she helped me see issues from the eyes of knowledgeable and never only a highschool athlete,” Ariel stated.

Representing the USA

Ariel stated it’s an honor to characterize the U.S. within the Olympics. She’s grateful for the ladies who went earlier than her to forge a path in girls’s basketball. Ladies like her faculty coach, Tina Thompson and her U.S. Olympics Ladies’s Workforce coach, Daybreak Staley. She additionally provides credit score to former Duncanville Pantherette, WNBA champion, Olympic gold medalist and Ladies’s Basketball Corridor of Fame inductee, Tamika Catchings.

“For me it’s about representing our whole nation, particularly the younger women and girls who seem like me,” Ariel stated.

It’s uncommon that Ariel will get time in her busy schedule to cease in Duncanville to see her household and pals. In 2019, she made a particular journey to Duncanville Excessive College to provide some encouraging phrases to the Pantherettes.

“I’ve constructed a variety of relationships throughout my time at Duncanville Excessive College. I’m grateful for them, and I hope they final a lifetime,” Ariel stated.

After cheering her on in highschool, faculty and her professional profession, Ariel’s hometown is now ready to rally behind her as she represents her nation within the Olympics. She stated she has at all times been grateful for the love and help.

“It’s been an honor to characterize Duncanville and God and my household in the easiest way that I can,” Ariel stated.


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