Merideth Marsh looks to future overseas

Transition is fully underway in this season of change for Vanderbilt's graduating student athletes. Trading black and gold threads for the summer gear of jean shorts and t-shirts, four ‘Dores seniors are facing their futures. Thoughts of the final game in a Vandy uniform are fading into the distance as Merideth Marsh declares, "I've moved on. I'm in a different mindset now."

With graduation set for May 14, the 5'6" guard will leave Vanderbilt with the record for the most 3-point shots made with 256 of 653 for a 39.2% career average from the 3-point line.

That accomplishment was good enough for a spot in ESPN's April 1st State Farm Women's 3 Point Contest as one of eight senior sharpshooters in the nation. Jimmy Dykes, color analyst for women's basketball, picked Merideth to take the competition. She did not advance, but the self-confessed fan said, "we're still friends."

The Louisville, Kentucky native set other records, too: Becoming the 31st member of Vandy's 1,000 Point club and sinking 1,332 points during her career with a team-high 15.1 points per game this season. Merideth played 45-minute games in three overtimes against Western Kentucky, Arkansas and DePaul; led all scorers for the season with 28 points at Mississippi State and the Second-Team All SEC Conference choice hit 26 points in the NCAA First Round against DePaul, with nine in the 83-76 OT win. Merideth and senior teammates Ashlee Bridge, Lauren Lueders and Jessica Mooney all leave with two Southeastern Conference titles (2007 and 2009), and four appearances in the NCAA tournament.

The ball handler whose family and fans were keen on promoting Marsh Madness and painting themselves with #23 has a permanent reminder of the number. Twin brother Alex had the numbers and a basketball inked on his shoulder blade. "It was really cool that he would do something like that for me but I was like, ‘Alex that was really stupid!' He could have gotten it smaller but I did appreciate it."

Focusing now on studies to graduate with a major in Child Studies and a minor in Human & Organizational Development, Merideth is also researching agents. A spot on a team in Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain or Turkey is a goal – and preferably with a coach and a few teammates who speak a little English. After a year abroad and banking new stats to prove her value, Merideth hopes to land a spot at a WNBA training camp.

The immediate future involves pickup games to stay in shape and working camps. "I'll work our team camp in June and I might go home and put on some camps for my high school and make some money that way. I have friends here who just moved to Nashville so maybe I'll bum on their couch for a little while. Home is nice because of my family, but this is where my last four years have been spent and I have relationships here."

Those relationships cemented on a basketball court, during workouts and travel are the glue that will hold memories for a lifetime. "It's a unique experience in that you get to meet so many girls from so many backgrounds but yet you have one thing in common and that's for the next four years of your life, you dedicate your whole life to basketball and to winning a national championship or an SEC title. To share that passion, to share that joy and that excitement with those girls each year – those are memories that nothing can take away.

"I'll be able to take friendships from college for the rest of my life. That whole idea of investing yourself in something bigger than yourself is hard and challenging. But I did it and it's the most rewarding thing. I wouldn't change anything for the world. I had a blast with the girls and met a lot of strong, bold women who I am looking forward to seeing what they do with their life."

At times intense and often unafraid to speak her mind, Merideth spoke of maturity as the years passed from freshman to senior, from a post high school teenager to young adult.

"My biggest life lesson is just being able to adapt and change. It's a lesson you can take into any profession or career. The biggest thing is managing your time and learning how to schedule because if you don't, you're not going to be able to meet deadlines. In high school you think that's the busiest time in the world, but when you come to college, it's like a slap in the face or kick in the butt – you find out you weren't really working hard in high school. With workouts, practice and class it can be an all day affair, but you learn how to manage yourself and grow in four years and mature in every sense possible."

When Merideth walks across the stage to receive her degree, onlookers will likely not see the small tattoo emblazoned on her ankle. It is a Celtic trinity heart containing a tiny word with a big message: "Faith."

Merideth had it done last summer. Its' meaning, whether the ink fades or not, will remain embedded in her heart. She believes the best is yet to come.

Merideth and Rebecca Silinski during the introduction at Notre Dame.

Seniors Jessica Mooney and Lauren Lueders help a fouled and laughing Merideth.

Head Coach Melanie Balcomb presents the 1,000 Point Club ball to Merideth.

Showing some intensity against LSU that made her a fan favorite.

Merideth enjoys watching career moments with Jordan on Senior Day.

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