Mere weeks after accepting the position of head coach at Akron, Ryan Gensler met his new starting forward Reagan Bass for a round of golf. Working their way through the 18 holes, the two discussed a wide range of topics and found many principles and philosophies they shared. But the first-time head coach learned more about Bass than the conversation presented.
As the 6-foot-1-inch forward claimed the victory with several one-putts and a sharp short game, Gensler understood from where Bass’s success on the court stems.
“There is a calm fierceness about her,” Gensler said. “It is the ultimate competitiveness, just pure grit and determination. But there is a certain wave of calmness about her that is channeled in the right way. … It isn’t just on the court. It’s a way of life for her and how she goes about things and how competitive she is. She was not going to let me walk off the golf course beating her.”
A First-Team All-MAC selection last season, Bass leads the MAC in scoring (21.1), rebounding (11.9) and minutes (37.6) this year. She eclipsed the 20-point plateau in five of the Zips’ first eight games and registered a career-high 33 points twice.
Her scoring mark ranks 17th in the country, while she sits fifth in minutes and sixth in rebounding. She tallied five double-doubles, which is also top 20 in the nation.
“I’m learning as I go,” Bass said. “Nothing’s perfect. Nothing’s guaranteed. You just got to go day by day, experience by experience. I learn so much from the people I’m around, the staff, my teammates.”
The forward’s stats have dramatically improved over the course of her three years with Akron. Her scoring jumped from 12 points a contest to 17.1 to now 21.1. Her rebounding output doubled from 5.9 to 7.7 to 11.9.
“What she’s been able to do is a culmination of the years that she’s put into the game,” Gensler said. “She is seeing the results of some tangible hard work that she’s probably accumulated since her freshman year, and it’s a credit to her work ethic.”
Bass registered double-figure rebounds five times, including a 19-rebound performance at Robert Morris back on Nov. 15. She has nearly half the offensive boards she pulled down last season in about a quarter of the games.
“Boards are just effort,” the junior said. “They’re just effort points. You got to have the mindset to always go after that ball. That’s props to my teammates as well for boxing there are people out so I can go get it and vice versa.”
Over her three years, the Ohio native expanded her range and now demonstrates a shooting touch that was not as apparent in her earlier days. She is an 81.8% free throw line and converts nearly 30% of her 3-point attempts.
But the expansion of her game goes beyond her stat line. Bass is in her second year as captain and developed a deeper bond with her teammates. Gensler noted her vocal leadership as she often pulls her teammates into huddles. She points out and holds her teammates accountable when she feels the standard has dropped.
Her coach instilled in her to be “unapologetically herself,” and she emphasized how comfortable she is with the Zips. She grew up in Strongsville, Ohio, which is 40 minutes northwest of Akron. Bass often has numerous family members and friends in attendance at home games.
The civil engineering and business double major eyes playing basketball professionally. Once her playing days are over, she plans to work for her family’s engineering company and would love to run one day.
“The sky’s the limit for her,” Gensler said. “It’s not going to be a surprise when she is a head of industry in whatever capacity that is. She will climb ladders. She will shatter ceilings, and she will be someone that we will always want to bring back to campus to be living proof of what hard work and what this university can do.”