On the court and from the bench she gives her all
by Michael Abelson
LOWELL, Mass. (February 6, 2020) – Lansing, Illinois, is a long way from Lowell, Massachusetts. In fact, it’s a 15-hour drive east on I-90 nearly 1,000 miles away. It was in Lowell, the fourth-largest city in Massachusetts, that Lansing native Ren’Cia Rolling left her mark on Division I college basketball.
In actuality, Rolling left her mark in multiple places. Her career started at TF South before moving onto Seton Academy in South Holland, Illinois. Her skills on the court got her a spot at State Fair Community College in central Missouri. As a sophomore, she led the nation in assists with 8.9 a game.
All of that success eventually paved her way to UMass Lowell. After decades of success at the Division II level, UMass Lowell moved up to Division I in 2013.
“It has been a great experience,” Rolling said. “Coming from home to a new atmosphere has definitely been adaptable. I was just looking for a place to fit in, but I also wanted to explore more. When I went to State Fair Community College it was also different because I was away from home. It made the adjustment process easier coming to UMass Lowell.”
The fact that the program was growing was a draw for Rolling. The NCAA requires that teams moving up to Division I must wait four years before being allowed to qualify for post-season play. The Riverhawks became eligible a year before Rolling stepped onto campus.
“The coaching staff I love, and the fact that the program was building,” Rolling said. “The [state] of the whole program is what made me more interested than any other school.”
At Lowell, Rolling blossomed into a workhorse. As a junior she led America East in minutes and set the school’s Division I record in assists. This year, her last college season, she was named a team captain.
“You knew when she got here she was going to give her all to make her dreams come true and better herself and her teammates,” UMass Lowell coach Tom Garrick said. “She’s one of those types of kids that’s exhausted all types of options and possibilities to live her dream. That’s something you have to admire.”
Garrick knows a few things about succeeding on the court. He starred at the University of Rhode Island before being drafted into the NBA in 1988. He played four years in the league and another six years professionally overseas.
“Coach Garrick is a great coach,” Rolling said. “I would definitey say that I learned a lot from him.”
Rolling was having a fantastic senior season, averaging 11.6 points per game before a devastating knee injury ended her career on 1/25 in the Riverhawks’ game against Vermont.
While she must now heal and watch from the sidelines, Rolling’s time with the Riverhawks is anything but over. She’s there on the sidelines every game still leading her teammates. It’s just in her character.
“She’s going to be the biggest supporter and biggest cheerleader for her teammates,” Garrick said. “She’s going to be able to decipher what she sees on the floor. She’s going to be very integral when we call timeouts and the girls gather. She’s going to be able to give her input and tell them what she sees from a player’s standpoint. And she’ll be able to share stuff with the coaches on the bench also as to what plays might work. She’s going to have a voice just because she’s that type of person and she wants to help.”