Feb. 28, 2009
by Katie Koerner
As her final season as a member of the Michigan State women's basketball team draws to a close, Mia Johnson, said the season is far from over. With plans to travel far into both the Big Ten and the NCAA Tournaments, the team's lone senior said the goals she has for the season are still alive.
"Since the beginning it has been a goal of our team to go far in both tournaments, and to make the most out of this season," Johnson said. "I know my teammates are here for me, and are looking to make my last season as successful as possible."
The guard, originally from Minneapolis, Minn., transferred to MSU form St. Louis University before the start of the 2005-06 season, and said she has been amazed with MSU ever since.
"After being on campus for only 48 hours I had fallen in love with everything at MSU," Johnson said. "I was able to sit in on a few classes, and fell in love with the academic side of things as well."
However, after leading her team to the second round of the NCAA Tournament her second year at MSU, Johnson tore her right ACL at the beginning of the 2007-08 season, and was forced to sit out the first eight games. However, her injury has not stopped her from trying to reach her personal goal of scoring 1,000 career points. With 928 points prior to Sunday's match up, accomplishing the last 72 points, is something Johnson said would be like a dream come true.
"Being able to score 1,000 points in my career would be such a great accomplishment for me," Johnson said. "Contributing those points for my team would also hopefully lead us to a few more victories this season as well."
While Johnson said her career for the green and white has had its ups and downs, she said during each game she strives to constantly work hard on both ends of the court. "Basketball is not like football," Johnson said. "You have to play both offense and defense at the same time. Overall I just try to be the best player I can, and do a little bit of everything."
By using her experience on the court, Johnson said this season she is focusing on being more of a vocal leader for her team than she has in the past. "I have a lot of experience, so I want to share that with the younger girls on the team. When you look at it, they are really the bright stars of our program and I want to be there for them however possible."
Looking back on her career as a Spartan, Johnson said there have been several unforgettable moments, but what she will remember forever are the friendships she has developed.
"Both on and off the court I have built friendships that mean so much to me," Johnson said. "MSU is a great place, and with all the friendships I have formed, it has really made it an enjoyable experience."
Along with her teammates and friends, Johnson said she would not be where she is today without the help of her family, and her religious beliefs in God. "I am so thankful for everything God has given to me, and without Him or the support of my family I would not be here today."
Also giving credit to the MSU community, and the support that is both seen and heard by the team's constant fan base, Johnson said it is the community that she is going to miss the most. "Our fans have always been such big supporters of us, and having that always translates into great energy for our team," she said.
Not only has Johnson found success during her MSU career on the basketball court, but she has also found success in the classroom as well. Currently posting a 3.57 GPA and already completing an undergraduate degree in communications, Johnson said it was her mother who taught her the importance of education.
"My mom has always been an advocate of letting me know how important my education is," Johnson said. "She taught me that school always comes first, so growing up I learned how to balance basketball and school at the same time."
When her time is not taken up between basketball and her schoolwork, Johnson said she enjoys writing poetry and working with youths in the community as well.
Although unsure if she will finish her second degree at Michigan State, Johnson said she does plan on working towards a Master degree sometime in her near future. Continuing her basketball career is also something she is looking forward to.
"If I can get overseas I would love to keep playing," Johnson said. "Maybe someday I will also become a collegiate basketball coach myself."