Rheina Ale Reflects on Hilltop Career

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Senior point guard Rheina Ale of Carson, Calif., will graduate USF this Spring holding at least five spots in the basketball record books — not that records mean much to the humble 22-year-old.
“I don’t really pay attention to all that. It’s cool to break and stuff, but my main focus is winning. I want to do whatever it takes to win…and I just so happened to break a couple records,” Ale said.
She holds the top spot in the books for minutes played, and is second all time in free throw percentage as well as 3-pointers. She has the fifth most starts in USF history, and places ninth all time in scoring.
“The funny thing is, the one that I have the top spot, the minutes played — I didn’t even know that was a thing to beat. They said my name at the Gonzaga game and I had no idea.”
Ale has averaged around 32.5 minutes per game, breaking the old 3,639 career minutes played record by 5 minutes (with 3,644) after her 112-career game on Feb. 11.
Since records don’t mean too much to the three-time team captain, she has a different moment to look back on with pride from her senior season. On Jan. 23, the Dons defeated the St. Mary’s Gaels for the first time since the 2007-08 season. The 66-64 win came off a buzzer-beating jump shot by Ale.
“I’ll always remember the last 30 seconds or so of that game,” Ale said. “I’ve never had a buzzer beater before and that was the perfect game to do it in.”
USF had another huge WCC win this season — a 71-64 upset over No. 23 BYU at the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah. The win was the first time the Dons have ever defeated BYU over the eight times the two programs have competed. It was also the Dons’ first road win against a nationally ranked team in 16 years.
“We had two really huge wins in our conference…there are different wins that we’ve had this season that I’m proud of,” Ale said.
USF played its final home game of the season on Feb. 23, falling to Portland 77-63. The three graduating seniors were honored before the tip-off.
“It was emotional for me at first. Hearing all of the accomplishments I’ve had in the past four years…I felt good about myself after hearing all that,” Ale said.
“It was a fun senior night. I have been blessed to play here for four years.”
The Dons wrapped up the WCC regular season two days later with a 69-62 loss to Santa Clara on Feb. 25 at the Leavey Center in Santa Clara, Calif. Ale led the team in scoring with 18 points.
“We just have to end the year strong with the tournament,” Ale said.
The Dons will play their first WCC tournament game on Feb. 29 at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. As the season comes to a close, Ale will complete her four year career as a Division I basketball player. She’ll graduate from USF this spring with a degree in Communications. While her future plans are still uncertain, Ale has an idea about where she might end up.
“I’m really interested in a career in the broadcasting business,” Ale said. She isconsidering entertainment reporting, news reporting, or maybe even sideline reporting at basketball games. However, if she gets the chance, Ale won’t be giving up competitive basketball just yet. “I want to try to play overseas,” she said, “if I have an opportunity to play, I’ll take it just for the experience.”
“Basketball is just so much fun to me. I love to compete,” Ale said.

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