Piper maintains a 3.67 GPA in education with a focus in natural science and a minor in special education. She’s been named to the Big Sky All-Academic team three straight years and helped Eastern Washington earn a spot on the WBCA Academic Top 25 honor roll for nine consecutive years — an accomplishment only one other school in Division I history has matched.
A two-year team captain, Piper is a role model and leader on the EWU women’s basketball squad. She helped rebuild the program, going from 4-25 in 2007-08 to 19-12 just two years later, which marked the best season for the Eagles in more than two decades. Led by Piper, the 2009-10 squad earned the school’s first-ever Big Sky regular-season title, while Piper became EWU’s first-ever league Most Valuable Player. “Julie has demonstrated amazing character as a team captain for the last two years,” coach Wendy Schuller said. “She has attended weekly captains meetings and worked through manuals with me and the other team captains to develop and produce a new climate of character and commitment on the team. She has provided a strong work ethic that propelled this team to a championship title for the first time in school history, while continuing to push herself to be the best player she can be. As a senior, Julie has also done an incredible job of embracing the freshman class and making them feel confident and comfortable in their first year on campus.”
Piper is active in both the Cheney and Spokane communities, taking part in a variety of outreach programs. She has been involved with the local Habitat for Humanity, assisting with the ‘Blitz Building” project in Spokane, Wash. This project aims to build new, affordable houses, as well as refurbish homes in critical condition to families in need. Piper has contributed to the construction and repair of more than 28 homes over the last few years. Piper volunteers at the Hutton Settlement in Spokane Valley, which is a state residence that provides housing for orphaned children ages 5-18. She also volunteers with the Special Olympics as a coach for the basketball, bowling and track and field events, and has helped run clinics through the Spokane Stars Basketball Club for girls ages 6-12. On campus, Piper is a leader with Athletes in Action, which is a student-athlete group under the umbrella of Campus Crusade for Christ. She conducts and leads weekly bible studies, and then follows up with individual meetings for spiritual growth. Last year, Piper singlehandedly conceived, organized and executed a community-service project called “Shoeza Palooza,” where she and her teammates put boxes all around campus and stood out at the stations to collect shoes for the homeless in Spokane during the holiday season. The team collected more than 200 pairs of shoes.
Last year Piper was the Big Sky’s MVP and a unanimous first-team all-league selection. She was among the top five players in the league in rebounding (7.5 rpg) and field-goal percentage (.461), while her scoring average of 11.8 points per game ranked 14th. She registered six double-doubles throughout the season, which tied for the second-most in the Big Sky. As a sophomore Piper earned All-Big Sky honorable-mention accolades. Piper has played in every single game for the Eagles since her freshman season, and has started all but seven of those contests. “Julie is a huge difference-maker for us,” Schuller said. “She is a great defender, a great rebounder, she can score and she can put a lot of pressure on the defense in her ability to run the floor. She is someone that is not going to leave anything on the table. She has put everything she has into perfecting her game and her ability to lead this team. In order for us to have a successful year, Julie needs to have a great season.”