Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe started her university career at Simon Fraser with an all-rookie nomination and a CIS national championship title.
Now a senior, the 62 former Toronto forward wants to bookend her career with the best the NCAA Division II can offer.
"To go to the national championships, it would s h o w the SFU program is one of the top programs in the nation. It would be huge," said Raincock-Ekunwe, who currently leads the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in field goal percentage and rebounds per game.
That opportunity will come later when March madness takes centre court in the conference playdowns.
But before that, Raincock-Ekunwe and fellow fourth-year teammates Carla Wyman and Kristina Collins will be honoured at Seniors' Night at the West Gym on Saturday night.
While some outgoing seniors find playing their last home game a sad affair, Raincock-Ekunwe said she plans to focus on the conference game ahead of her.
"We've never beaten Northwest Nazarene in three seasons. It's a good opportunity," she said.
The game will also be a further opportunity for Raincock-Ekunwe to leave an even larger legacy as one of the all-time great players to play on Burnaby Mountain.
Last week, Raincock-Ekunwe moved into elite company in NCAA Div. II, registering her 55th double-double in the Great Northwest conference. Although unofficial because of the Clan's then-provisional status, Raincock-Ekunwe's career numbers are currently fifth-best all-time.
She set a new conference record for double-doubles in her first year in the NCAA and broke her own mark the following year with 24 doubles, earning a second consecutive first team all-star nod.
This season, she broke the conference record with her 49th double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 15 rebounds against Alaska Anchorage on Jan. 5.
Earlier in the season, she also set the conference single-game rebound record with 24 boards.
Her 941 career rebounds to date is fourth best in the conference all-time.
Raincock-Ekunwe also has top-10 all-time numbers in total field goals, blocked shots and offensive rebounds.
"Rebounding has been my game," said Raincock-Ekunwe. "I just try to go to the boards every game and get as many as I can."
The two-time Basketball B.C. outstanding university player of the year says she never expected to reach the heights she has.
"In my first year, I didn't think I would be that good. I got beaten up in practice pretty good," she said.
But SFU head coach Bruce Langford says, "she didn't have a choice."
With three outgoing seniors graduating following the Canadian collegiate title and Raincock-Ekunwe fourth on the depth chart, the former B.C. high school AA MVP from Kalamalka High School was thrust into a starting spot.
"I thought she was going to be that kind of athlete, for sure. But things came too easy (for her) as a high school player. She struggled in her first year. . She's improved her intensity and focus," said Langford.
Raincock-Ekunwe currently leads the nation in field goal shooting and is second in total rebounds. The Clan is also third overall in the NCAA in field-goal shooting percentage as a team.
But with four conference games still left on the schedule before playoffs, Saturday's matchup with third-place Northwest Nazarene is a crucial test of the Clan's mettle, said Langford.
Earning the program's first-ever berth into a NCAA national tournament remains the team's ultimate goal.
"It would be deserving for the kids," said Langford, "and a shame if we didn't reach our potential."
For Raincock-Ekunwe, the difference might just come down to her new-found intensity.
"I'll remember most going down to the States and showing the Americans that Canadian girls can play. It's always a good feeling when we beat the Americans," she said.
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