RACHEL Jarry is a Women’s National Basketball Association championship player.
The Minnesota Lynx rookie is the first player from Ballarat basketball ranks to play the game in a major American league – and she has won a title in her debut season.
Former Ballarat Lady Miners’ assistant coach Sarah Monck, who was also Jarry’s housemate in Ballarat, said you could always tell Jarry had potential to achieve something special with her basketball career.
Jarry made a big statement from the moment she arrived at the Minerdome in 2010 and has gone from strength to strength since.
“We got her pretty much straight out of the Australian Institute of Sport and she was just a gun,” Monck said.
“She was always willing to do stuff to help out.
“In her first year she was SEABL (South East Australian Basketball League) MVP.
“She dominated the league from the start. The fact she’s still a rookie over there and wins is amazing.
“Most players there will never get to a championship match.”
Jarry, who hails from Hoppers Crossing in Werribee, spent one season in the SEABL with the Lady Miners.
She was set to suit up in 2011 but struggled to return from a knee injury she sustained late in the Women’s National Basketball League season with Bulleen Boomers.
Monck said Jarry still turned up each training session.
It was the same year Jarry was taken at pick 18 in the WNBA draft – ironically by Atlanta Dream, the team Lynx beat 3-0 in the championship series – and was on-traded to Lynx.
She was held over to focus on Australian Opals’ Olympic duties and signed with Lynx in February this year.
Jarry has spent the past five seasons playing in Australia’s top women’s competition, the WNBL where she became a championship player with Bulleen in 2011 and WNBL all-star player in 2012.
Monck said the 21-year-old had remained down-to-earth.
Jarry sent a team jersey to Monck, without question, for a personal auction signed by the full Lynx team, including star Maya Moore.
Monck, who had been hoping for a few souvenirs, was humbled by the gesture.
The Minerdome followed the WNBL final series closely as Lynx, the western conference champion, charged to its second title in three years.
Jarry played about eight minutes across three games.
She becomes the eighth Australian to win a WNBA championship, joining the likes of two-time champions Lauren Jackson (2004, 2010 with Seattle Storm) and Penny Taylor (2007, 2009 with Phoenix Murcury).
Jarry will return to Australia soon to rejoin the WNBL season with Melbourne Boomers under new head coach Guy Molloy, the former Miners coach.