NCAA Division III Week Spotlight: Raven Jemison, Women’s Basketball

Editor’s note: From Monday-Sunday, April 1-7, Hope College Athletics is celebrating NCAA Division III Week with member schools across the country as we observe and celebrate the impact Division III athletics and student-athletes have on campus and in the surrounding community. There are special events planned at Hope Athletics home events throughout the week. Check out Hope Athletics social media accounts for more stories. As part of Division III Week, Hope softball pitcher and communication major Grace Connelly ‘25 is profiling four peers throughout Division III Week for the Hope Athletics blog.

Raven Jemison holds a basketball.

Raven Jemison brought fire to the MIAA regular-season champion and Sweet Sixteen qualifying Hope College women’s basketball team this season but notes that she wasn’t always that way. 

The senior from Grand Rapids, Michigan appreciates how the opportunities as a NCAA Division III student-athlete have transformed her — helping her to live into her full self and pursue becoming all that she was created to be. 

An English major with a creative writing emphasis, Jemison explains that she has become more extroverted as a student-athlete at Hope, going out of her way to see people and engaging in personal conversations creating deeper relationships that will last a lifetime.

Jemison has also become intentional with her time, being fully present with her teammates, living in the moment and investing in personal relationships.  

The perspective was brought home, while far away, on another continent, during a women’s basketball team trip to Italy during the summer of 2022. The opportunity was eye-opening as Jemison realized she would never be in that same experience again with all of her teammates and coaches.

“I will never be a part of this program again, so I have to enjoy what I have at this moment,” Jemison said. “A lot of people want to talk about where they want to be, but you’ll never get there if you don’t enjoy what you have now.”

Jemison is part of a storied women’s basketball program that won national championships three times and advanced to postseason play 23 times since the first national title in 1990.

Jemison started at center this season, helping a young team with five new starters reach the third round of the NCAA Tournament and finish with a 26-4 overall record. The Flying Dutch claimed an outright MIAA championship, their 20th league title.

In addition to her contributions on the court, Jemison played an important role in fostering a winning environment off the court —  a reflection of her dedication to becoming the best version of herself while helping others develop.  

To her teammates and coaches, Jemison is a transformative person herself. Head coach Brian Morehouse said the underclassmen often look to her for direction and guidance.

“She has the biggest soul and continues to use that for good to impact everyone around her,” Morehouse said.“Raven is the kindest girl on the team and highly approachable. She does a great job of recognizing who is hurting and who is thriving and coming alongside them.”

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