Marnelle Garraud shoots a free throw against UT Martin, as photographed on Dec. 4, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Ophelia Lu)
Marnelle Garraud shoots a free throw against UT Martin, as photographed on Dec. 4, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Ophelia Lu)
Ophelia Lu

A gritty attitude has led to a breakout season for Vanderbilt’s Marnelle Garraud

Marnelle Garraud has embraced her role as a leader of the Commodores, thanks to her belief in Shea Ralph and the Vanderbilt community.

“Whatever you want to achieve, you can achieve it if you put your mind to it; that’s what my mom has always told me,” Marnelle Garraud said.  

Garraud is naturally competitive, but it took basketball to unleash that fire. 

In fourth grade, Garraud was a cheerleader and found enjoyment in it. The next year, her mom had her play basketball instead of being a cheerleader. The now-SEC star is in love with the grind, and everything else associated with the game of basketball. 

“I started going to basketball camps with my friends,” Garraud said. “I loved the work ethic and grind of it.”

From the moment she picked up a basketball, the star from Lynn, Massachusetts, has run with the sport and inspired thousands across the country with her stupendous play. 

After a successful high school campaign at St. Mary’s and Noble Greenhough, which included eclipsing the 1,000-point mark by her junior year, Garraud chose to attend Boston College. The school was perfect for Garraud because it gave her the chance to play in a competitive conference like the ACC, while staying close to home. 

At BC, Garraud excelled. In four seasons as an Eagle, she posted 944 points, 173 3-pointers, 373 assists and 202 steals. She is one of two BC alumni to have notched 200 or more steals in a career. Garraud is also one of two student-athletes in program history to be named to the All-Academic team four times.

After the 2021-22 school year, though, Garraud was on the lookout for a new home.

“After I left BC, I wanted to do something new. I’m from Boston, I was raised in Boston, so I wanted to move away from home just to have that experience while I’m still in school,” Garraud said. “My teammates and the friends that I’ve made at school have done a really good job of taking me in and making sure I have everything I need.”

Garraud’s transition to Vanderbilt has been relatively smooth, which she credits her seamless transition to the coaching staff’s emphasis on community-building. 

“I’ve never felt how much a coaching staff has cared so much about the building and the player. For the first three months we were here in the summer, all she [Shea Ralph] cared about was how to be good teammates to each other,” Garraud said. “Every season goes through ups and downs. You have to be a good teammate. You have to celebrate each other’s wins, and then have each other’s backs when there are failures.”

The graduate student has added to her already-impressive resume since coming to Vanderbilt last fall. Through 22 games as a Commodore, Garraud has played in 87.5% of Vanderbilt’s 880 minutes elapsed. The Boston native has already racked up 49 assists, 10 blocks, 32 steals while averaging 13.7 points per game. Her success from the 3-point line has gained national attention, as she leads the SEC in 3-pointers made this season with 59. 

Aside from her illustrious statistics, the veteran has also been a steward in some of Vanderbilt’s most memorable games this season. On Dec. 6, two days after losing to UT Martin by double digits, Garraud scored 31 points to help the Commodores capture a 75-70 overtime victory over LA Tech.  

Marnelle Garraud had 31 points in Vanderbilt's 84-81 loss to Arkansas, as pictured on Jan. 16, 2023. (Vanderbilt Athletics)
Marnelle Garraud had 31 points in Vanderbilt’s 84-81 loss to Arkansas, as pictured on Jan. 16, 2023. (Vanderbilt Athletics) (Vanderbilt Athletics)

Whatever you want to do, you can accomplish,” Garraud said. “I definitely didn’t think I would be scoring 31 points—I never scored that many points in my entire career—but you can do anything you put your mind to,” Garraud said.

Garraud didn’t let her monumental night deter her from her focus as the season went on. After the LA Tech game, the 5’7’’ guard continued to thrive and pulled off another 31-point performance seven games later.

That performance came against the Arkansas Razorbacks on Jan. 16. Vanderbilt was coming off of a four-game losing skid, and Garraud did nearly everything in her power to change that. The graduate senior scored 31 points, 21 of which came from beyond the arc. Garraud knocked down four 3-pointers in the final 75 seconds, including a bank-shot 3-ball to tie the game at 81 apiece with 4.3 seconds to play. Despite Garraud’s career performance, a successful buzzer-beater from Arkansas’s Makayla Daniels ended Vanderbilt’s night in bitter fashion. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SX4n1ennd5I

 

Although Garraud’s time as a collegiate athlete is waning, she continues to find humility in what basketball has given her. 

“I’ve just been so grateful for everything basketball has given me,” Garraud said. “I’m getting my master’s degree here and basketball has brought me to so many new experiences that I’m overall so grateful for.” 

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About the Contributors
Andrew Wilf, Sports Editor
Andrew Wilf (’24) is Sports Editor for The Vanderbilt Hustler. He is from Livingston, N.J., and is majoring in history and minoring in business. He joined the sports staff his freshman year, previously serving as a Staff Writer, Assistant Sports Editor and Deputy Sports Editor. Beyond writing for The Hustler, he is also the host of Anchor Analysis, Commodore Clash and Live From West End. In his free time, Andrew enjoys watching the NFL and playing golf. He can be reached at [email protected].
Ophelia Lu, Deputy Photography Director
Ophelia Lu (’26) is from Los Angeles and is double majoring in biomedical and electrical engineering in the School of Engineering. She previously served as a staff photographer. When not covering events and sports games for The Hustler, you can find her listening to a lot of music, studying at Starbucks or lying on Alumni lawn. She can be reached at [email protected].
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