Utah Utes women's basketball: Iwalani Rodrigues is turning it around in classroom
"The basketball court is easy for her, it's the part that wasn't easy all of her life that she's had to learn to compete at and take seriously every day."
Rodrigues is now in her second season playing for the Utes and, while it took her some time to get back in the flow of playing basketball after the year off, she is now excelling both on and off the court.
"She had a terrible shooting percentage from the 3-point line last year (14.7 percent)," Levrets said. "But in practice, you could come in and watch her shoot for half an hour and she might miss five shots. One night it just turned on and now all of those shots are going in. She's played really well; she's the player we knew she was going to be."
Rodrigues scored a career-high 31 points against Westminster earlier this season and has scored in double-digits every game since. Her 13-for-13 performance from behind the arc was one shy of tying an NCAA record, and her 48.4-percent shooting from 3-point range is currently a MWC-best and second in the NCAA.
More importantly, however, Rodrigues is moving closer to her goal of earning a degree in communications and finding a career in a sports-related field.
"She hasn't had everything handed to her, it hasn't just been easy, and I have a soft spot in my heart for those kinds of kids," Levrets said.
"The thing about her, though, is the minute you spend more than five minutes with her, you love her. The room lights up when she walks into it. You can't help but like her and want her to succeed. She's going to get a degree from here some day, and it's going to be a great thing."
- Ranking the best NBA players to ever come out...
- BYU basketball: Cougars outlast San Francisco...
- Former Lone Peak center Justin Hamilton makes...
- BYU basketball: Confident San Francisco...
- Photo story: What teenagers taught me at the...
- 15 lessons learned from a BYU rugby game
- BYU basketball: Tyler Haws passes Russell...
- Photos: Olympian Noelle Pikus-Pace speaks to...
- Utah basketball: Runnin' Utes come up... 74
- BYU basketball: Cougars outlast San... 74
- High school boys basketball: 5A/4A/1A... 57
- BYU basketball: Despite dearth of... 34
- Utah basketball: Runnin' Utes eager to... 30
- BYU basketball: Bottom seed LMU knocks... 26
- Krystkowiak asks Runnin' Utes to stay... 24
- Utah basketball: Regular-season finale... 24