Three years after stepping onto the court for her first game as a freshman, senior guard Clare Traeger is excited to get to work for her final season at Binghamton. Traeger played in all 29 games last year for BU, starting in 12 of them. Traeger is a native of Dallas, Texas, where she was originally a figure skater before beginning her basketball career in eighth grade.

“What made me fall in love with [basketball] was the process,” Traeger said. “I was kind of behind the eight ball of everybody else who was going to play college or had dreams of playing in college, so I had to step up my game.”

With her role as a senior among other less experienced teammates, Traeger recognizes the opportunity to help take a more prominent role as a leader for the Bearcats.

“[Being a senior] gives me a position to step up and be a leader, be a senior leader, along with my teammates in the senior class,” Traeger said. “[I want] to set the standard of what they need to do in future years, even after my senior class leaves … Bringing in the new freshmen, creating that chemistry and making it stronger, especially as we’re playing these preseason games.”

Traeger is also excited about the return of players who missed time last season due to injuries.

“With the low numbers that we had, just bringing those players back,” Traeger said. “Just getting them acclimated on the court with what we have already established. I think they’re great, positive contributions, and I think that last year we really missed out on that since a lot of people were injured. So I think it’ll be a positive difference this year with the players coming back, being healthy and really helping the team out with what they can do.”

Last season, Traeger led the Bearcats with an impressive 8.2 rebounds per game, good enough for second in the entire America East (AE) conference. She also averaged 7.1 points while shooting 69.8 percent from the charity stripe, both career highs for her.

With the season fast approaching, Traeger is ready to get back to work on both ends of the court. The senior reached double figures in rebounding, a team-best, eight times, including a career-high 18-rebound performance against Vermont last February.

“My rebounding skills will definitely help the team in getting second chance opportunities on offense and then getting the boards on defense and pushing in transition,” Traeger said.

In terms of basketball role models, Traeger patterns her play after Dennis Rodman.

“I like to model his rebounding ability, and his hustle and heart,” Traeger said. “I want to be the player to do the things that aren’t on the stat sheet.”

On top of the intangibles, Traeger intends to find the back of the net more this season. The guard put up seven double-digit scoring efforts and broke 20 points twice. Additionally, she scored a career-high 21 points against Canisius last season.

“My shooting and scoring ability will really help the team,” Traeger said. “I’ve been looking for my shot more in practice and, hopefully, that translates into the games … I think that’ll be not challenging, but I guess a challenge for myself because I like to just kick out and pass. But I need to look for my shot more, so I think it’s a positive challenge for myself.”

Off-campus, Traeger is part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and enjoys going to the ministry. She also enjoys shopping and takes care of her dog, Coda. She has thoroughly enjoyed her time at BU and hopes to help the team in its pursuit of a championship this year.

“[One of my favorite things about Binghamton] is the family atmosphere,” Traeger said. “I think that each team has a bunch of respect for each other, and we all have one common goal.”