BUTTE — It’s not every day a true freshman breaks 41-year-old records.
But in a game against William Jessup, Montana Tech’s Tavia Rooney pulled down an incredible 22 rebounds, breaking Wanda Sanders' single-game record of 21 rebounds. Rooney knew she was having a great game crashing the glass but didn’t realize the magnitude of what she had just accomplished until after the final horn.
“I knew right around the first quarter I was like, 'I think I have quite a few by now.' But by the end you aren’t really thinking about it," Rooney said. "We were in a good game, we were pulling out a good win. And then by the end when all my teammates came and told me, it was a pretty cool feeling.”
Rebounding is quickly becoming a part of Rooney’s basketball identity, and head coach Carly Sanon already recognizes how successful her team can be when Rooney is all over the boards.
“One of the things I told her on the first game she started in Seattle was, 'You have to crash the (offensive) boards, because you're so athletic. You have to live on the O-boards,'" said Sanon. "And it was like I told her that and, I mean, she hasn’t looked back, she is constantly on the O-boards.”
When Sanon was recruiting Rooney she quickly saw how athletic and versatile the Townsend standout was anytime she was on the court. It reminded her about another player she’s recruited who shared similar potential.
“I saw kind of in both where she can play the three or four, kind of like Mesa (Williams) does. You know, Mesa’s freshman year she played the four. So you can use her in a variety of spots and that’s what I saw when I was recruiting her," Sanon said.
Rooney's rotation into the starting lineup has come with its share of frustrations and learning opportunities, but she has always kept a positive mindset. So when her number was called, she was ready to make an impact.
“I just knew that whether I was going to be a starter or if I was the 10th man off the bench, when I was in practice whatever I was doing there was going to benefit me when I finally got my time on the court," said Rooney. "So just knowing that those weeks of coming off the bench at first paid off of working hard in practice and then being able to step up to the spot when it was open.”
“I think you’re going to see her continually getting better and better and more confident in every aspect of the game," Sanon added.