Clarin looks to finish career with final NCAA berth

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For the Jackrabbit women’s basketball squad the goal every year is to compete for a conference championship and an NCAA tournament berth, and for Mariah Clarin this is her last opportunity to do so.

The senior forward started every game this season, averaged 12 points per game and led the team in rebounds and blocked shots. Clarin has increased production and logged more minutes each season, this being her first year averaging double-digit scores.

She’s among the league’s leaders in rebounds and blocked shots while averaging only 23 minutes per game. But her contributions far exceed anything that shows up in the box score.

Listed at 6-foot-1, Clarin is undersized, especially against top competition, but she makes up for with hard work and athletic ability, according to head coach Aaron Johnston.

“She’s a little undersized, going up against people that are a little bit taller and broader,” Johnston said. “But her strength and explosiveness are really hard for other people to match up with.”

Johnston described Clarin as one of the hardest workers on the team, constantly diving for loose balls, grabbing tough rebounds, running the floor or even getting knocked to the floor.

“Mariah has taken more charges this year than most players do throughout a career,” Johnston said.

Johnston said Clarin is one of the leaders on the team and that a lot of what she does is contagious. He added that her emotions are a strength, but can sometimes be a problem, evidenced by her team leading 82 personal fouls this season.

According to Mariah, being passionate is simply a part of who she is. It’s something she is focused on to steer in the right direction by talking with coaches about influencing others in a more positive way.

“That’s what I’ve tried to do when I’m out there: have fun, smile,” Clarin said. “Not very many people get the opportunity to play in front of an amazing crowd with 13 teammates that are the best friends you could ask for. There’s so many reasons to smile out there and have a good time. It makes it fun for us and it makes it fun for the fans.

Rachel Walters, one of the four seniors on the team, met Clarin on their official visits to SDSU before enrolling with the program. Although they’re now close friends, Walters remembers being intimidated by Clarin at first.

“She was decked out in Jordan chains and earrings,” Walters said, but has since warmed up to her teammate. “Mariah is very bold and confident. I think that shows on and off the court. She’s a great teammate and an even better friend. She pushes people when she knows they’re not at their best and she encourages people when they need a friend.”