Rachel Edmundson reinvented herself on the basketball court this season for Truman State University.
Her role as a junior evolved from scorer to defender, and the North Scott graduate found herself with the ball in her hands more following a shift from a forward to more of a wing position.
“Things have changed a lot for me this season and I’ve had to work to grow different parts of my game,’’ Edmundson said. “We have so many more scorers on our team now than we had when I got here a couple of years ago that I’m being counted on to do other things.’’
Edmundsen has maintained a level of consistency in her performance, earning all-Great Lakes Valley Conference honors for the second year in a row last week as the Bulldogs’ 15-11 season came to an end in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.
Truman State rallied late in the season, rebounding from a seven-game losing streak to win its final five regular-season games and earn the sixth seed for the league tournament.
“It was a year where we learned a lot, where we dealt with some adversity and where we were able to fight our way through it,’’ Edmundson said. “It taught us a lot and moving forward, I think the experiences will help our team.’’
The turnaround for the Bulldogs began on the defensive end of the court, mirroring an area where Edmundson has worked toward improvement.
“As we focused on defense, we started to have success. Our shots started to fall and our confidence grew because of what we were doing on the other end of the floor,’’ Edmundson said. “Late in the season, we were able to hold teams to around 50 points and that helped us turn things around.’’
Edmundson counts on her own experiences benefiting her as she prepares for her senior season in a program led by former St. Ambrose and Ashford coach Amy Eagan, who has led Truman State to winning records in each of her five seasons with the NCAA Division II program.
“The time has gone by so fast,’’ Edmundson said. “When I think back to my freshman year until now and see how my game has changed, I’m a different player.’’
Edmundson finished the season as the second-leading scorer on the Truman State team, averaging 8.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. Her scoring average grew to 9.6 points per game in conference play and she finished second on the team in three-point baskets for the season.
She appreciates what she has had a chance to learn this season.
“I’ve always had a scorer’s mentality. That’s always been my approach to the game, but we have a lot of players who can put the ball in the basket now so I don’t need to put up 20 every night,’’ Edmundson said.
She did reach double digits in the final five games of the season, but found it rewarding to work to find other ways to be successful.
“It’s a different mindset, but to play good defense and to be in a position to get an important stop or get a rebound at a big moment in a game, that is all part of what it takes to win games and I like being in a position to help our team do that,’’ Edmundson said.
She continues to add strength to her 6-foot frame and is using that to her advantage in her role as a guard.
Edmundson said she continues to work to develop her ball-handling skills, development that will continue to take place into the offseason.
“I feel like I’m making progress there, but it’s been a change for me and it’s something that has to be there. If I’m going to be a guard I’ve got to handle the ball,’’ she said. “I’m one of the bigger guards in our conference. I can use that to my advantage, catching the ball down low on the block and scoring over defenders and using my length on defense.’’
It’s all part of the evolution which has challenged and motivated Edmundson.
“It’s been exciting to compete at this level,’’ she said. “My game has had to become better in a lot of ways and the more ways I can improve, the more I can help our team have success and that’s what I really want to be a part of, a winning team.’’