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Pine-Richland grad Chelsea Rourke doing it all for Gannon

Kevin Lohman
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Pine-Richland grad Chelsea Rourke is a women’s basketball player at Gannon.
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Matt Mead Photography LLC
Pine-Richland grad Chelsea Rourke is a women’s basketball player at Gannon.

In three seasons with the Gannon basketball team, Pine-Richland graduate Chelsea Rourke has continued to evolve.

She began as freshman reserve, then became a role player as a sophomore. Now a junior, Rourke is flourishing as a do-it-all Swiss army knife.

The 5-foot-11 swing player leads the team in minutes per game (33.9), field-goal attempts (170), 3-pointers (22), blocks (29) and steals (23). She ranks second in points (11.9) and third in rebounds (9.9) and assists (2.2).

“Her ability to impact the game on both ends of the court is special,” Gannon coach Jim Brunelli. “She did it as a high school player, and each year she’s gotten better and better. That’s hard to do when you’re at the collegiate level.”

“It’s really hard to make strides in certain areas. A lot of players focus on making those strides on the offensive end, but she’s always dedicated herself to doing it on both the offensive and defensive ends. Those are the types of players that I want to have on the court 90 to 95 percent of the time.”

This is the second consecutive season Rourke has led the team in blocks and steals. However, she has turned into a bigger offensive threat this winter.

Rourke has led her team in scoring six times this season, including a career-high 20 points against Fairmont State on Nov. 14. She has scored in double digits in 12 of 18 games. Rourke has increased her field-goal percentage from 43 to 49.2.

“On the offensive end, Chelsea is a three-level scorer. She can get to the hoop, she can hit the mid-range and she can hit the outside 3-point shot,” Brunelli said.

“She’s a very difficult player to guard, probably one of the toughest in our entire conference. There’s some kids in this league that are great players, but they can only do one or two things to create offense. Chelsea can do it all.”

However, for Rourke, the only improvement that truly matters is her team’s.

She said that’s her focus as the Golden Knights (9-9, 5-6 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) enter the stretch run.

“I feel good because we had a little bit of a losing streak, but we turned things around quite well. We’re coming off of three wins in a row, all conference wins that we really needed if we’re going to get where we want to go,” Rourke said.

“That’s what our focus is on, improving so that we can put a complete 40-minute game together as a team. If we can do that, we can continue the winning streak that we’re on to help put us in position to make the playoffs. Until then, we’ll just continue to take things on game at a time.”

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.