July 21, 2010
MADISON, Wis. – For 5-foot-3 Rae Lin D’Alie, it’s not hard to mistake her for a kid. But for anyone who has watched the Wisconsin women’s basketball team the last four years knows that she is no child.
The point guard wrapped up her career as a Badger this spring, playing in a school record 132 games. She finished her career ranked second in total assists with 483, despite being one of the shortest guards in the country.
But for D’Alie, her height was never a drawback in basketball or in her community service efforts. The Waterford, Wis., native was recognized this year as the community service award winner for the women’s basketball team.
“My favorite community service projects are the ones where I get to run around and play with the kids,” says D’Alie. “Although I’m 22 years old, I still love to play games and have lots of fun. I always seem to act like I’m 12 years old when I get around the kids.
“I love being around children and I will always give back no matter where I am in life.”
In addition to the hours that she devoted to her academics and basketball this past season, D’Alie also volunteered with numerous area groups. She assisted at the YMCA, Madison Stars Club team and several local schools, teaching basketball skills. D’Alie went to local elementary schools and read to children and also did a fitness night at Mitchell Elementary School in Racine, Wis. She assisted former teammate Caitlin Gibson, a grade school teacher, by attending her class and playing with her students at recess. D’Alie also volunteered with Kids’ Day at the Kohl.
“I love giving back and seeing the kids and how excited they are when they see us,” says D’Alie. “It helps me realize what’s really important in life. It is very special for me when I see kids who have dreams of one day being a collegiate athlete because I too once had those dreams.”
Many coaches considered D’Alie too short to play Division I basketball but she persisted and signed with the Badgers late during her senior year of high school. She earned a starting role almost immediately and ended up starting 131 of 132 games that she played in the Cardinal and White. D’Alie never missed a game during her entire career, setting a UW record for consecutive games played.
D’Alie dreamed of playing at Wisconsin ever since she was a child.
“When I was growing up, I came to all the Badger camps and really looked up to all the players who were on the team,” says D’Alie. “I remember thinking how awesome it was when I got to see the players and interact with them. I wanted to be like them and that’s where my dreams started, through the players.
“As a Badger, I feel it is extremely important to give back to the kids and be a great role model to them. They look up to the players and I think it is the responsibility of the athletes to be a good example. As a kid, the players helped me chase my dreams and I want to give back what the athletes gave to me.”
Giving back is also something that D’Alie learned from her parents and her five brothers and sisters.
“I always was told by my parents to give back,” explains D’Alie. “My mom made it very clear to me in high school (that) if there was a kid who really looked up to me, that I should always give them my full attention and be a good role model to them.”
D’Alie graduated this past spring with a bachelor’s degree in sociology – wrapping up her academic career in only four years, a feat not seen very often these days. She hopes to continue her playing career overseas, particularly in Italy where her family is from.
So if you see D’Alie in a group of kids and are not sure which one is the adult, that’s just how she would want it.