Athlete of the Week: Galena’s Pearle Green brings community pride to UAF basketball

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 9:41 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - University of Alaska Fairbanks women’s basketball star Pearle Green grew up in Galena with a bucket full of freshly-picked berries and a freezer full of subsistence-harvested meat from the land.

Galena, a town of fewer than 500 people, is also where her love of basketball was planted and eventually flourished into the high school’s all-time leading scorer.

“That means everything to me,” Green said following a shootaround ahead of a conference game with their in-state rivals, the University of Alaska Anchorage. “Honestly, when I was a senior I was thinking of leaving but I wanted to stay just for the fact that I would be ‘Pearle from Galena.’”

“Pearle from Galena” now proudly dons “Alaska” across her chest in Fairbanks, about 250 miles east of her home. The 5-foot-7 guard leads the Nanooks in scoring as a freshman at 15.7 points per game. A season erased by COVID-19 in 2020-21 gave Green an extra year of development before transitioning from high school ball in Galena, to the NCAA Division II level.

In her first game since she was a 1,000-point career scorer for the Hawks, Green played 36 of a possible 40 minutes, netting 18 points on an efficient 6-10 from the three-point line.

”I think at my first game I was like really, really scared, but I think I am doing a lot better now. I’m getting more comfortable,” she added.

Green found her groove pretty quickly, as she has since produced back-to-back 26-point performances and also has career-highs of seven three-pointers made, five assists and five steals.

But the pride of Galena isn’t just uplifting her community through her lethal jumpshot.

“I think it is huge to have a role model that — like I said, I mean she’s a phenomenal athlete, but she is also a phenomenal student and all of these things,” said UAF women’s basketball head coach Jessie Craig, who helped recruit Green out of Galena. “It is huge to see, too, for little girls and even boys, to see like, ‘wow she is from a similar place to where I’m from and she made it’, and so now those kids can see themselves out there on that court, which I think is huge.”

That combination of skill and character creates the ideal role model for the youth of Galena, a responsibility Green is ready to take head on.

“I take it very seriously I think ... and I hope that me doing this makes them do it later on too,” said Green, who is half Koyukon Athabascan.

“It’s honestly everything I know, because I grew up in a village, and so I love representing that and having other Natives play with me too,” she continued later. “It’s the best.”

Green, who has six siblings, was able to reach the collegiate level much in part due to the backing and encouragement of her friends and family in Galena.

“They’ve been really excited for me and happy, they have always have been really supportive of me,” Green said.

“All of them (my siblings) will have to message me after the game and tell me something I have to do better. ... When I was growing up, they would always challenge me in shooting competitions, one-on-one, all of it,” she said later in the interview.

No women’s basketball player in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference has made more three-pointers per game than Green at 3.4, while she ranks in the top 15 in points per game (6th, 15.7), assists (15th, 2.6) steals (4th, 2.2), three-point percentage (12th, 34.3%) and minutes (2nd, 34.4)

The Nanooks will visit Seattle Pacific University on Thursday and Montana State Billings on Saturday.

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