Paige Clausen cheers on her teammates in the Gator women's basketball team's win over Prairie View A&M on Nov. 30. Photo courtesy of Ashley Ray.

From Student Rec to Exactech: Walk-On Paige Clausen Finds Herself Apart of Gator Women’s Basketball

Paige Clausen arrived on campus in 2021 like any other freshman. She spent her time playing pickup hoops, but it was not getting rid of her itch to play organized basketball. So, at the end of last season, Clausen made a call to head coach Kelly Rae Finley. Clausen expressed her desire to get back on the hardwood and went through a tryout over the summer. After a successful tryout, Finley called Clausen to give her the good news.  Now, the forward finds herself on the court as a member of the Gators women’s basketball team.

As a senior at Barrion Collier High School in Naples, Florida, Clausen put up impressive numbers. She finished her senior year averaging 22.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 5.3 steals per game. Despite these numbers, she never expected to be under the bright lights of Exactech Arena.

Banking and Balling

As impressive as Clausen’s basketball accolades are, her achievements in the classroom and the business world are just as impressive. Currently, she is studying finance and plans to pursue a Masters degree, as well. Her dream is to be an investment banker, something she avidly pursues in the classroom and in her free time. Clausen was heavily involved on campus last year and is a proud member of the Gator Student Investment Fund.

Outlook on the team

Clausen raved about the Gators’ coaching staff, especially Finley.

She also spoke highly of her teammates and the culture of the program. She said she felt welcomed and accepted as a walk-on despite hearing “horror stories” from other players’ experiences at different schools.

The Gators have gotten off to a rough start in SEC play, but according to Clausen, the team is still close. She stated that camaraderie remains high and everyone is locked in on beating Tennessee Thursday night.

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