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Player reflects on past accomplishments

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Taylor Kruger
Contributor

Rachel Finnegan did not start playing basketball until she was 12 years old, but that has not stopped her from pursuing a full-fledge basketball career.

Finnegan is a 5-foot-8 senior guard for the women’s basketball team at Cal State East Bay.

While growing up in Turlock, Finnegan’s father got her involved in every sport imaginable at a young age: baseball, soccer, softball, and basketball. She probably would have had an easier time getting a scholarship in softball, but wanted to play college basketball. Bigger Division  schools were showing interest in her for softball, but she preferred to play basketball when it came down to it.

Before her college career, she first played high school basketball at Turlock High located in northern San Joaquin Valley. While at Turlock High she earned four varsity letters in basketball. She averaged 15.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and four steals per game on her way to being named to Division I Cal-Hi Sports all-state and all-district teams.

At Turlock, she was twice named Central California Conference Player of the Year. She obtained multiple Central California championships. Finnegan scored over 1,460 points, grabbed 960 rebounds, dished out 600 assists, and had 400 steals during four-year playing career which led to her getting the opportunity to play Division I basketball at San Jose State University.

“They showed much more genuine interest than the other schools that were staying in touch with me for some time,” said Finnegan. I felt it was important to sign where I felt I was really wanted and I had a chance to get playing time right away.”

During her freshman year at San Jose State, she earned just six starts and appeared in 15 games, where she averaged 0.7 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 15 minutes per game.

During the 2010 season, Finnegan  red-shirted due to hip surgery. Red-shirt is a delay or suspension of an athlete’s participation in order to lengthen the athlete’s period of eligibility.

After her red-shirt season, Finnegan decided to transfer to East Bay after a new coach took over at San Jose State. She was right at home at East Bay due to the fact that she knew several girls on the team already, preferred to stay in the Bay Area and found it was a perfect fit.

Her first year at East Bay, she appeared in 26-of-27 games with seven starts. She led the team with 40 steals, ranked third on the squad with 107 rebounds and 38 assists. She also led the team in steals in nine different games.

Throughout her career Finnegan has had a supporting cast that consisted of her family and friends supporting her in every decision she has ever made and appreciates everything they have done for her.

“My family and friends are so incredibly supportive,” said Finnegan. “They always have been all throughout my life and I couldn’t thank them enough for all that they do for me. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for them.”

Her father is her role model. She looks up to him in more ways than he knows. He has been there for her through thick and thin, and supported her all throughout her life with whichever sport she participated in and she cannot thank him enough.

She earned Academic All-WAC all three years at San Jose State. Where Finnegan feels that education was the most important part.

“Most importantly, I got my education paid for. I learned that college sports are more so a business rather than an extra curricular activity like in high school.”

Finnegan is now entering her final season. Her main goal going into this season is to do whatever she can to help her team win a NCAA Division II Championship. She is excited to start this season with her teammates and feels that they have a chance to shock some of the opponents in their conference.

She has come a long way since Turlock High, but she does not regret anything and just focuses on the positives.

She is very thankful for the opportunity to play the sport she loves for how long she has and thankful that basketball has helped towards her goal of receiving a college diploma. Basketball has done more then just keeping her in shape, it has taught her about ambition, dedication, teamwork and mostly passion.

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Player reflects on past accomplishments