Tori Rule is waiting for just one phone call. “I want to go overseas, because that is what I’ve been trained to do,” she said in an MSR interview after her scheduled work shift at the Lake Street YWCA.
After finishing her college basketball playing career at Providence College, and not getting an invite from the WNBA, the 5’-8”, 22-year-old college graduate has been working out, staying in shape in hopes that her agent calls to inform her that an overseas job is waiting for her.
Unlike their male counterparts, U.S.-born female hoopsters still have limited professional options to them after college. No WNBA D-League. Poorly organized women’s minor-league basketball leagues have come and gone.
As a result, it’s either the summertime WNBA or the wintertime foreign leagues. Rule is opting for the latter.
Rule played her first two high school years at De La Salle before transferring to Minneapolis South, where she graduated in 2011. She scored 1,400 career points, thrice made all-state and four times all-conference and all-metro, and was a finalist for Miss Basketball in her senior year.
At Providence (2011-15), Rule scored 1,271 points and finished 12th on the school’s all-time scoring list. She chose the school for its academics — Rule graduated with a degree in health policy and management and had the opportunity to regularly play against the likes of UConn in the Big East.
“It’s always been a tough conference,” she recalled. “Playing in the Big East, you’ve made it as far as the Division I level because of the people you were playing against. I really think the conference met my personal needs as far as [the] fast pace, physical and competitive against people you want to play against.”
A natural two-guard, “I played more point guard in my senior year because our point guard went down with an injury,” said Rule. “It was a big adjustment considering my finger was broken at the time, but I toughened it out.”
Because of her demonstrated versatility, Rule believes she is ready to lead a club or provide off-guard scoring at the pro level, not stateside but overseas where the big money is. That’s why most WNBA players spend their off-season playing there during the winter months.
“It’s good money, and it is something I always wanted to do,” reiterated Rule, who virtually has kept a basketball in her hand since she began walking. “My family said I first picked up a ball when I was two years old.”
She shoots at least 2,000 shots daily, lift weights, and does cardio training and runs to keep herself in shape. “I felt if I put the work in, I’d get out positive results,” said Rule.
However, the wait for that call is the most challenging, she admitted.
“There are these days when I say, ‘Man, I can’t wait to get an email for an update [from her agent],’ said Rule. “I am not getting the answers — it is frustrating.” Therefore, while she waits, Rule keeps reminding herself to “just believe and being patient.”
“I will be happy to [be] anywhere,” she pointed out. “Location is not a problem so long as I get there.”
If all goes as planned, Rule said that after her pro career “I would like to create some kind of community center for kids either in Minneapolis or the south side of Chicago.” But in the meantime, her bags are packed and her passport is in hand as she hopes to begin “my basketball career that I have been thriving for.”
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.