PALATINE, Ill. – Harper sophomore women's basketball player Rachel Payne (Wheeling, Ill./Schaumburg Christian Academy) embodied what it meant to be a student-athlete in her two years as a Hawk. Payne dominated on the basketball court, but more importantly, she thrived in the classroom. She will now have a new home as a student-athlete for the next two years, as she recently signed a NAIA Letter of Intent to play for Judson University in Elgin.
Payne excelled in her two years as a Harper student-athlete. On the court, she was the team's second-leading scorer in back-to-back seasons and also earned Harper College Athlete of the Week honors. Off the court, the physical education major with a concentration in biology maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA and earned N4C Academic All-Conference honors for her efforts.
She will play for the Eagles and head coach Kristi Cirone, who will be entering her third season as the head coach of Judson. Cirone thinks Payne will be a great fit to the team.
"She has a high basketball IQ, works extremely hard and has a great overall attitude," Cirone said. "We're excited to have her here."
The Eagles are members of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC). According to Cirone, Payne's skills fit perfectly in a conference with strong guard play and a fast-paced game. Payne expressed her confidence in choosing Judson.
"I really liked what I heard from coach Cirone. Next year she feels we will be at the level she wants, and I'm happy to be a part of that," she said. "It'll be a big step up from here, but I'm looking forward to the transition."