During Nickell‘s four-year career, she was selected as KIAC Women’s Basketball Player of the Year three consecutive years, KIAC Female Athlete of the Year twice, USCAA First Team All-American, NAIA Second Team All-American, and NAIA Third Team All-American two times. Her jersey from two years ago hangs in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tn.
This year, she led the country (NAIA Division II) in rebounding and was second in the country in scoring. She also led the KIAC in scoring (25.63) and rebounding (13.37). Nickell was 9th in the NAIA in three-point shooting (42.2%) and 3rd in total points (692). She ended her career being the leading scorer in Alice Lloyd College history (men and women) with 2,587 points. Nickell also set the school record in rebounding (men & women) with 1,251 rebounds. During her career, she averaged a double/double, 22.5 points and 10.9 rebounds.
In February Nickell was selected to the USA Athletes International basketball team and competed in Scotland with her teammate Carla Booth and eight other players from across the country, representing the USA in a set of games in the Scottish Friendship Series.
“Wow! What a way to end a magnificent career,” says John Mills, head coach of the Alice Lloyd College women’s basketball team. “The accolades Ariel has received are numerous and are all very prestigious — four-time All-American, four All-KIAC selections, three-time Player of the Year, recently selected to play on the USA Athletes International team that traveled to Scotland, and now, a second KIAC Female Athlete of the Year award.
“Receiving this honor, voted on by the conference’s athletic directors, is a huge honor,” Mills continues. “It has been a wonderful experience coaching Ariel and watching her develop as a player and grow as a young woman.”
Off the court Nickell was very active with community service projects. She embraced the five core values in the NAIA’s Champions of Character Program and was instrumental in leading the ALC women’s basketball team’s community service efforts. This year, the team conducted five programs, and she had the lead role in three of them. Along with those projects, each student in her economics class had to plan and conduct a community service project. Nickell organized a food drive to get students to donate a can of food for the Caney Baptist Church Food Pantry.
When asked why she chose this particular project, Nickell said, “When I drive around the local community, I see my people struggling to make it. I wanted to do something to help during these tough economic times. They have given me so much during my time at Alice Lloyd. I wanted them to know how much I appreciate them.”
Reflecting on Nickell‘s natural leadership skills, Coach Mills added, “I’d like to see Ariel really step up to the plate and give back to the youth in the community she settles into so that some other young girl can live out her dream like she has.”