All she needed was the confidence. “I made my first shot,” said Rebekah Nevarez, a guard for the Franciscan University women’s basketball team. The long-time athlete would add 25 more points for a career high of 27, including six of seven threes from beyond the arc. “Confidence was big that game,” she said.
Nevarez has started 19 of 20 games for the Lady Barons this season, in the process of averaging more than six points a game. She identified “the unity on the team” as one of the program’s high points, a closeness fostered, in large part, by early season contributions from junior guard Gaby De Jesus.
Said Nevarez, “This is the first time playing college ball for a lot of us,” in reference to the team’s youthfulness. “Gaby has been so open to all of us,” she said. “She knows when one of us is down and needs to get hyped up.”
The freshman sharpshooter for an up-and-coming Steubenville squad has her family to thank for her basketball mentality: both of her parents coach and founded a basketball program in 2002 in her hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts. After contributing to her high school team, the yearly playoff-bound Minnechaug Regional Falcons, she elected to lend her talents to Franciscan.
Beyond notching the team’s first win on the season, Nevarez said she wants the team to make success its focus. “Since we’re still young, it’s hard for us to really get a feel for how we play,” she said. “I feel like once we find that vibe, that rhythm, it’ll be a lot easier to make our offense flow more.”