Rachel Slaney, MATC women's basketball vs. Triton College

MATC sophomore forward Rachel Slaney rises to shoot over Triton College defender Alondra Chavarria in the WolfPack's 107-83 victory on Saturday, January 28, in Madison. (Photo by Jason McMahon/Wisconsin State Journal)

Jason McMahon/Wisconsin State Journal

Rachel Slaney is on the brink of breaking a record she almost didn’t know she was close to setting.

Slaney needs just seven points to become the all-time leading scorer in Madison Area Technical College women’s basketball history.

Slaney, a 5-foot-11 sophomore forward from Barneveld, has scored 1,069 points to close in on the school record of 1,075 set by Waunakee’s Alicia Haag in 1988-90. That mark should fall early tonight when the WolfPack (18-5, 7-2 N4C) visit Wilbur Wright College (1-20, 1-9) in Chicago.

“I had no idea I was even close to it until a bunch of friends told me,” Slaney said. “I was shocked. Now it’s exciting and I can’t wait to play at Wilbur Wright and see what happens.”

Slaney has been scoring at a prolific pace, averaging 25.7 points this season to rank fourth nationally in National Junior College Athletic Association Division III.

“I think it’s an awesome accomplishment for her,” said Lois Heeren, MATC’s first-year coach. “I know she had a solid freshman season and she’s definitely putting some numbers up this season. Any time somebody scores like she can in a variety of different ways is just remarkable.

“Our offense is not set around her. We don’t have set plays geared just toward her … get Rachel the ball, that type of thing. It’s kind of a free-flowing offense, but she really has taken a huge leadership step in our program and I’m excited and happy for her.”

Heeren came to MATC after 17 years as head coach at UW-La Crosse, where she coached 33 All-WIAC players, including one WIAC Player of the Year.

“I’ve been in this business a long time at all levels and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a better sophomore than what I’ve seen with Rachel,” Heeren said. “And I’ve seen a lot of players and coached a lot of players.

“For her to be as versatile in two years, it’s pretty remarkable. She can hit the 3, she can take it off the dribble, she can post up. She can do a little bit of everything, so she truly got to be a nightmare for most teams we play and how are they going to match up. She has a knack with the ball that I’ve never seen before.”

Slaney played for two WIAA Division 5 state championship teams at Barneveld, where she earned 11 letters in four sports. She averaged 17.7 points and 7.9 rebounds as a senior to earn State Journal All-Area first-team honors and Associated Press honorable mention.

But she came to MATC with no lofty expectations.

“I never thought about me making history here or breaking a record,” said Slaney, who also ranks among the nation’s leading rebounders with a 12.5 average. “I honestly just came here to play and that was it.”


Dennis Punzel covers Wisconsin Badgers volleyball, women's basketball for the Wisconsin State Journal.