Lady Dogs Nab One of Tennessee's Best

She is averaging over 28 points and 12 rebounds a contest. She is the reigning Region Player of the Year. She is a two time All-State selection and a shoe-in for a third. She is starting to get her name in the conversation for Miss Basketball in Tennessee. She is Danielle Rector and she turned down offers from Clemson, Florida and Vanderbilt to sign with Mississippi State.

Danielle, the product of a basketball family, basically grew up dribbling a basketball. Playing college basketball has been a goal for the 6-2 forward for as long as she can remember.

"It's always been a dream of mine ever since I was a little girl," said Rector. "When I first realized that it could happen was in the seventh grade when I started playing AAU ball. I got to see what was out there and I started to realize that it could happen. From then on, I put in a lot of hard work to make it happen."

Versatility is the first word that comes to mind when describing Danielle's style of play.

"I think one my strengths is that I can handle the ball," said Rector. "Not too many post players can really handle the ball. I don't really consider myself just a post player. For my high school team I do everything. I have played point guard and everything from the two through the five. I can do anything I need to do. I can shoot from outside. I have good range."

Danielle did not develop her wide range of ability on accident.

"That was one of Dad's big things when I first started playing basketball," said Danielle. "He decided that I wasn't going to be someone who just stood under the basket and got rebounds. He wanted me to be able to handle the ball and hit the outside shot. People can't just double and triple team me under the basketball. I can create my own shot just as well as I can post up."

Rector attends Tennessee Temple Academy in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Danielle and her Lady Crusader teammates are in the midst of what they hope is a deep run in the state tournament.

"If we win Monday night then we automatically go to sub-state, but if we win on Wednesday too we get to host sub-state," explained Rector. "If we lose Wednesday, we have to travel. The winner of sub-state goes on to the state tournament."

The Volunteer State stand out has already signed with the Lady Bulldogs of Mississippi State. One of the big selling points for Danielle was the MSU campus.

"It was about June or July when I first started talking to Coach Fanning," said Danielle. "I went on my official visit down there in October. Bethany Workman was my host. She was a really nice host and the campus was very nice. They have some new dorms and a lot of new renovations going on. The campus was kind of in a central location. Some of the other schools I visited, the campus was all over the whole city."

The visit to Starkville made Danielle feel right at home.

"I just feel that is where I am supposed to be," said Danielle. "I believe it's where God wants me. I went on my other visits and it just didn't feel right. When I went to Mississippi State, it just felt like I fit in."

Danielle expects to spend a lot of time in the low post, but says that in the Lady Bulldogs' motion offense she will get the chance to shoot some from the permimeter.

After meeting her fellow signees on her official visit as well as the current Lady Bulldogs, Danielle is very optimistic about her future at MSU.

"It's a fairly young team right now," said Danielle. "We can all kind of grow together and have three years with the current freshman this year. We should be able to develop some good chemistry and hopefully win a national championship before we are done."

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