As Rhea nears mark, she credits others (Basketball)

February 17, 2010
Talisa Rhea

Alaskan Talisa Rhea is on the verge of breaking the Oregon State University career 3-point record, a hallowed mark that should reign in praise like she rains in jumpers.

Yet she can’t stop promoting the people around her.

“It’s definitely a team thing because without my teammates, without my coaches, I wouldn’t even have the ball in my hands,” she said recently.

Rhea, of Juneau-Douglas fame, needs only a dozen more 3-pointers to own the all-time record. As it stands Felicia Ragland (1999-2002) holds the OSU career mark at 178 in 118 games while Rhea has made 167 in just 86 games.

With six regular-season games before the Pac-10 Tournament, the 5-foot-11 junior will likely break the record this season. But when she does, don’t expect Rhea to gloat about her awesome accomplishment.

“My past teammates and the teammates I have now … it’s a huge tribute to them,” she said.

She’s right in the sense that she does need teammates to pass her the ball. But once she has it, it’s all Rhea.

She ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in scoring at 17.1 points per game and leads the conference with 108 made free throws. She’s also second in minutes (35.5), ninth in free-throw percentage (.800) and tenth in assists (2.9).

It’s remarkable that Rhea can have the kind of success she’s had despite being the focus of every defense she faces.

Question: Explain your success when everybody knows you’re getting the ball?
Answer: I think you take what the other team brings at you and you try to what you can to work with it and you rely on your teammates to help you along the way, and you rely on the game plan that you have going into the game to be successful.

Q: Talk the importance of being an all-around player at the Division I level?
A: It’s huge, I mean, teams scout you and they know what your strengths and weaknesses are and they know if you’re only one dimensional they’ll be able to defend that and take that away, and you’ll be stuck with nothing to do on the court, so it’s huge to have more options to counteract what they do to you.

Q: Tell me about your jumper. What’s been working for you?
A: Lot of repetition, I guess, and getting your feet set, you know, coming off screens ready to shoot. You have to know that you’re going to shoot before you can take it.

Q: If you were in Juneau today what would you be doing and who would you be hanging out with?
A: I’d probably be going around and trying to see as many people as I could. The people I’d be hanging out with … old high school teammates, going by the high school to see old teachers, old community supporters.

Q: Are you keeping up with Carlos Boozer and Will Egolf? How can such a small place produce so many big-time athletes?
A: I’ve kept up with Carlos and Will a little bit. They both seem to be having pretty good years. As far as Juneau producing athletes, I think it’s a great place to grow up and to play because everybody is so involved in a sport and they’re so committed to it and put a lot of time into it. It’s a great place to develop potential.

Q: What do you miss most about Alaska (and don’t say family)?
A: Definitely the people that were around me, the coaches that I had, previous teammates, teachers at school, just anybody who was involved in my life that helped me get to where I am now.

Q: Is playing college basketball in a major conference everything you thought it would be?
A: Yeah, it’s definitely that and a lot more. It’s a lot of fun. It takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of time and commitment, but it’s a great experience.

Q: What is your major and how is school going?
A: My major is Exercise and Sports Science and school is going very well. I really like my classes and what they’re about. It’s definitely very nice to be able to get an education and be in school and enjoy playing basketball while you’re doing that.

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