She was a four-year letterwinner at Rider, and during her junior season, she was the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Sixth Player of the Year, averaging 8 points and 1.14 assists a game. She shot 43.3 percent from 3-point range.
She has spent the past two seasons as a graduate assistant coach at NCAA Division II Lynn, which is in her hometown of Boca Raton, Fla. She helped the team to 18 wins this past season and a spot in the NCAA Division II tournament.
"Ali is a sharp, mature and focused young coach who came highly recommended to me by people I trust," Pietri said in a statement released by JSU. “She had a positive impact at Lynn this past year in helping lead them to the NCAA Division II Tournament berth. I look for her to have a positive impact on our program as well."
Off the court at Rider, Heller helped coordinate several of the team's extra-curricular activities, including the Rider University 5K Charity Run, a Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Walk and numerous youth basketball clinics at various local elementary schools.
Pietri already has brought former Alabama A&M head coach Altherias Warmley and Eric Wise onto his staff. Wise coached under Pietri for eight seasons at South Alabama.