Connell defies odds by committing to Penn

W. Hoops | Recruit Rayne Connell proved her coach wrong and got into dream school

· February 15, 2012, 10:00 pm   ·  Updated February 19, 2012, 10:44 pm

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“Watch me get in.”

This mantra has propelled the women’s basketball team’s newest recruit, Rayne Connell, to come to Penn.

Her first trip to Penn came as a freshman at Christ the King High School (N.Y.), when Connell and her track team competed in the Penn Relays.

“My coach was like, ‘No one on this track team can get into this school,’ and I was like, ‘Watch me get in,’” Connell said.

It wasn’t an easy task.

Though she took AP and honors classes in high school, Connell’s road to admission was a tall order. The point guard worked hard to get her standardized test scores to where they needed to be — she took the SATs twice and the ACTs a total of five times.

“Even if I had to take another ACT, I still would have taken it until I got the score to get in,” she said.

Just as it was a coach that first gave her the fire to get into Penn, the encouragement of Penn’s coaches was precisely what attracted her to the women’s basketball program.

“I just feel so comfortable around [the coaching staff],” she said. “Usually being recruited for basketball, I feel like the coaches try to portray themselves as someone they’re not. But the [Penn] coaching staff is sincere and I knew they really wanted me to come to the school and play for them.”

The 5-foot-8 point guard will be a pivotal addition to the Quakers’ defense, which has held opponents to 25-percent shooting from beyond the arc, ranking ninth in the country.

Growing up in New York City, the point guard knew Penn was the right school from the first time she stepped on campus.

“The atmosphere and diversity were things that I really liked,” she said.

She was also attracted by the chance to play basketball in the Big 5.

“I have friends that go to all the other [Big 5] schools,” Connell said. “So I think playing them every year will be exciting.”

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