Sierrah Moore made her Michigan basketball debut in the final minute of the Wolverines’ 68-48 win over IUPUI on Dec. 11.
But the freshman’s first performance at a Michigan athletic event came more than two months earlier.
On Oct. 2, Moore took first place in the Michigan Idol contest that occurred at halftime of the volleyball game that night. While that might have been a strange place for most athletes to introduce themselves, it was the perfect stage for Moore.
A singer for most of her life, Moore has been balancing basketball practice with songwriting and auditions since she was in middle school. She hopes to major in performing arts technology so that she can produce her songs and have a career in the music industry after college.
Moore says her love of music is rivaled only by her love of basketball. But for practical reasons, she has decided to focus on basketball right now.
“Basketball isn’t something that you can just stop and come back to, especially for myself as a guard, because they come a dime a dozen” Moore said. “As long as I practice and keep writing my songs, music is something I’m still young enough to get right back in to and do until I’m 50 or 60.”
Moore’s passion for music may have earned her more attention thus far, but basketball is what initially brought her to Ann Arbor. And just like her unique debut as a Wolverine, Moore took a different path to Michigan than that of her teammates.
Instead of being recruited by coach Cheryl Burnett and her staff, Moore sought out Michigan, hoping to help replace the six players who left the program last year.
“I came (to Michigan) because I thought that I could grow up really quickly, as far as learning the game and just getting experience,” Moore said.
Because she contacted Burnett just after the national signing period ended, Moore was given the status of preferred walk-on and practiced with the team over the summer, unlike other walk-ons who had to wait until just before the season to try out. Moore excelled at the off-season conditioning and at the time believed her intense style of defense would enable her to contribute right away.
More than halfway through the season, that belief has proven to be unfounded.
Moore has played in just two of Michigan’s 16 games this season, logging one minute against IUPUI and another against No. 5 Ohio State last week. Burnett admits that her need for more players — not Moore’s progress — was the main reason she made the active roster at the start of the season. Both Burnett and Moore attribute her lack of playing time since then to her difficulty learning the complex terminology in Burnett’s system.
But Moore appreciates the opportunities she has been given, even though they have been more limited than she had initially hoped.
“It had been a long time since I’d played in a real game,” Moore said. “Just being on the floor with the crowd and all the fans cheering, that’s where I feel at home.”
That positive attitude has been an asset to her teammates in practice. Senior captain Tabitha Pool says Moore continues to work hard on defense, which pushes the rest of the Wolverines to improve on offense.
Although she has had trouble achieving the goals she set for herself when she joined the team, Moore is still sure Michigan is the place she wants to be.
“I’ve been through worse as far as having to work my way up for playing time,” Moore said. “I’d rather not be the person who goes to the low-level school so I can be the star. I didn’t want anyone to say I have it easy because they see me in the spotlight. I want a challenge.”