|Friendships stay with Kloke|
By Anthony Kuipers, Idaho Athletic Media Relations
Senior basketball player Rachele Kloke said her career at the University of Idaho taught her the value of relationships.
That is the lesson she wanted to pass on to her younger teammates in her final season.
"I try to make sure everybody takes the time to really get to know each other and appreciate the teammates they have because you come in here and you're here to play basketball, but your interactions with them is what can make and break a team," Kloke said. "When you know your teammate's value off the floor and on the floor it helps with the program in general."
Kloke has done her part to help the program over the years. She is one of three seniors to have played all four seasons at Idaho. She is Idaho's second leading scorer this year with an average of more than 12 points per game. She was a second-team all-Western Athletic Conference selection as a junior while leading the team in scoring with 14.5 points a game.
Kloke reached the 1,000 career points mark this season, an accomplishment she said she was unaware of at the time.
"Considering I didn't even know I was going to hit the milestone, it was a nice little surprise," Kloke said.
Kloke, a four-sport athlete at Stanwood High School at Stanwood, Wash., was recruited by Idaho's previous coach, Mike Divilbiss. She said it was her dream to play Division I basketball and felt that her teammates and the school's business program made Idaho the right fit.
The Vandals only won four games her freshman year and Kloke said dealing with the losses became one of the toughest challenges of her career.
"It's not easy going through a program and not being able to win when you're working so hard," Kloke said. "But something you deal with is to figure out how to have joy in doing something that can be hard for you, and by doing that you can make it better."
Idaho hired its current coach, Jon Newlee, after Kloke's freshman season. Kloke said the change was difficult, but said she "lucked out" with the new staff.
"At first it was kind of a hard transition just having so many promises that you know are never going to get fulfilled with (the previous) coaching staff," she said. "But the new coaches that came in, and if they'd been recruiting me I would have come here and played for them definitely."
Kloke said she is grateful for the friendships she made at Idaho and said the ups and downs in her career benefited her on and off the court.
"The stuff that I've experienced will help me for the future, help me grow as a person," Kloke said. "So, I just really appreciate the chance that I was given through playing here."
Kloke, who will graduate in the spring with a business degree, will play in her final WAC tournament March 9-12 at Las Vegas, Nev.
Kloke said she wants to make the most of it.
"I'm just optimistic about the entire thing - going into it knowing that it's a lot of our last times playing together and that we're not going to leave anything unfinished," Kloke said. "It's all going to be finished on the floor, so I think it's going to be great for us."