Hard work, determination help Rachu lead team


Frances Hoey, Staff Writer

Hard work and determination have become the headline for Iona Women’s Basketball senior Morgan Rachu’s success.

As the Gael’s leading three-point star, it is hard to believe that the Wisconsin native’s basketball career was not always expected to reach this level. Coming out of high school, Rachu says that she was not viewed as someone who could play the sport at a Division 1 school.  As a result, she set out to a local junior college, Wisconsin-Marathon, with the intention of simply being able to continue the game while pursuing her academics.

During her time there, Rachu says she never once thought she could move on to play at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics.

“I was always a gym rat,” Rachu recalls. “I never wanted to be sitting around. I was always in the gym with a ball in my hands.” Even with that work mentality, Rachu still insists she did not expect to end up where she is today.

Her talent seems to say otherwise. Rachu posted an average of 38 points per game at Wisconsin Marathon and ended her two-year career with over 1,000 points.

“I’m just here to play. I never really cared about stats,” Rachu said. “I play to win, and I always want what’s best for my teammates.”

During her senior season, she sat down with her coach to explore options for her future career, but it wasn’t until the offers started coming in that Rachu began to realize her capabilities. One of her first interest letters came from none other than Iona College.

Less than a week later, Rachu was flown out to practice with the team. Immediately, she knew her decision was made.

“Even coming here, I didn’t think I would play a significant role,” Rachu said. “I wanted to be a huge asset to the team, but still I was coming from a much smaller school.”

In order to transition to the game at the higher level, Rachu spent the pre-season putting in hard work on the court.

“I was in the gym a lot,” Rachu said. “I didn’t perfect my game, but I definitely shaped it to a faster pace. At this level, you have to run the floor harder, be in shape and have a quicker shot release.”

More of the challenge, Rachu says, was mental.

“Coming from a junior college, you have to change your mindset right away,” Rachu said. “If you’re telling yourself you can’t, they’re gonna walk all over you.”

Rachu has compiled many achievements in her two seasons with the Gaels. She leads the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in minutes per game and leads the Gaels in minutes, points, three-pointers, field goals, rebounds and steals.She credits her success elsewhere though, acknowledging her coaching staff and her “talented, selfless” teammates.

Now in her last season with the Gaels, Rachu has found herself as a leader on the team.

“As a senior, I feel like I have that leadership role to hold everyone to a higher standard and have them hold me accountable as well,” Rachu said. “I don’t want to be let down easy. I want to be putting in as much as everyone else.”

From last year, the team has shown much progress in improving their gameplay and their record.

“You can see tremendous growth from everybody,” Rachu said. “Stepping into this season, we’ve been super confident that we can have a ring on our finger by the end of this. We want it more than anybody else. We’re a team that can do this. We have a mindset and we’re ready to go.”