Nine games into the 2012-13 season and it appears TWU junior guard Rachel Schlosser has finally found a basketball home — a search that actually began five years ago.
Schlosser sparked the Pioneers to their first Lone Star Conference victory last weekend, a 70-66 win over Texas A&M-Kingsville that snapped a six-game losing streak. She poured in a game-high 16 points to lead four TWU players in double figures and also pulled down a season-best nine rebounds.
But the best part of Schlosser’s story is the journey she’s had to take to get to where she is today — a starter and team co-captain whose contributions to the Pioneers far exceed her 7.4 scoring average and the 5.0 rebounds she averages every night.
The 5-foot-10 guard, who can handle either guard or forward positions, started her collegiate basketball career in 2007-08 with a year of community college action. She then transferred to UT-San Antonio for the 2008-09 season and played in six fall-semester games before leaving school to be with her family after her father became ill.
Now, three years later, and Schlosser, whose father eventually died, is now the mother of a young daughter and ready to return to college. She transferred to TWU and this fall was a student in a basketball class being taught by Pioneers head coach Beth Jillson.
“I always ask if there’s anybody who thinks they can play and has some eligibility left,” Jillson said. “She told me she had played and she looked like an athlete, so I told her about our tryout.
“Obviously,” Jillson is quick to add, “she did great.”
At that open tryout in August, Schlosser made Jillson’s decision to add her to the team an easy one.
“Her physical conditioning was always there,” Jillson said. “She had been running and lifting [weights] all that time. That’s one of her strong points — she came in in great shape.”
Schlosser, who one day hopes to be a personal trainer or strength coach, has worked hard to regain her touch with a basketball.
Her work ethic is such that she quickly won over her teammates who voted her as a co-captain, along with Rebekah Cluley, of the team.
“She’s just now getting back to playing basketball,” Jillson said. “And she’s played great. She’s picked up things pretty quickly and is just getting better and better.”
Schlosser has started seven of eight games for the Pioneers (3-6, 1-2 LSC), missing one contest with a minor injury.
Schlosser’s 16 points against Texas A&M-Kingsville was one shy of her career high of 17points she scored to lead TWU in a losing effort against Colorado Christian earlier this season.
TWU on 10-day break
The Pioneers are on a 10-game break for final exams and won’t return to action until Dec. 19, when they play host to Incarnate Word.
While TWU continues to practice, the team has moved this week from its usual home at Kitty Magee Arena while the facility is being prepared for the school’s fall graduation ceremony.
Practices are currently being held at the school’s Student Recreation Center.
A balanced offensive attack, led by Schlosser’s game-high 16 points and Ria Pateraki’s third double-double of the season, played a huge role in the Pioneers’ first LSC victory at Texas A&M-Kingsville last weekend.
“Everybody contributed and that’s what you’ve got to have when you’re down to just seven players,” Jillson said.
Schlosser had nine rebounds to go with her 16 points and was one of four TWU players to score in double digits.
Pateraki registered her third double-double of the season with 13 points and 13 rebounds, while Rebekah Cluley and Taylor Swift each added 11 points.
Barbara-Scott Kolb, a transfer from UNT, finished with one of her best performances with eight points and five assists.
The Pioneers never trailed in the game and opened up as much as a 13-point advantage in the second half before Kingsville closed the gap to the final 70-66 result.
Toys for Tots
The Pioneers are joining forces with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and will conduct a Toys for Tots collection event at their next home game Dec. 19.
Fans bringing a new, unwrapped toy to the game to donate to the Toys for Tots program will be admitted to the game free.
The game will pit the Pioneers against Incarnate Word at 7 p.m. at Kitty Magee Arena.
All toys collected at this game will be distributed by the Reserves as Christmas gifts to children in need in the Denton and North Texas area.
The Toys for Tots program has been supported by the U.S. Marine Reserves since 1991.