Penn State Player Profile #1: ‘Machine Gun Maggie’ Aims to Cement her Collegiate Legacy
Hometown: Narberth, PA
- 2011-12 Associated Press Honorable Mention
- 2011-12 All-Big Ten First Team
- 2010-11 Big Ten Freshman of the Year
- 2010-11 Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year
- 2010-11 All Big-Ten Second Team
As I mentioned in my season preview of this year’s Lady Lions squad, the team has its sights set on a trip to the Final Four; anything less will be considered a disappointment. The biggest reason for such lofty goals is the return of their 3 point shooting ace Maggie Lucas. Lucas has been the recipient of almost every award or accolade imaginable through her first 2 seasons in State College. But with her junior and senior seasons still to come, there are two big voids left to fill in what could prove to be an all-time great collegiate career. With a loaded senior class to provide much needed support, this will no doubt be Lucas’ best shot at a national championship, a goal she set out to attain for this program from the very moment she stepped on campus. An additional accomplishment that will not matter nearly as much to Lucas, but would mean just as much to her already exceptional legacy would be winning the Wade Trophy (awarded to the player deemed to be the best in the country at the end of the basketball season).
When asked about Lucas, her teammates and coaches had nothing but great things to say:
“She’s a kid who loves to get better and loves to be challenged."-assistant coach Kia Damon
“Maggie’s the type of player who will never stop. She won’t ever think she’s the best, she needs to keep working.” -teammate Tori Waldner.
Lucas begins this season with 2nd team preseason All-America recognition from many different pundits and sources. This means that she will have a puncher’s chance at winning the award as women’s college basketball’s finest player this season, but that seems rather unlikely with the remaining presence of Baylor senior Brittney Griner and Notre Dame senior Skylar Diggins. Next year, however, she may just enter as the frontrunner for the Wade Trophy. It is opportunities like these that motivate Lucas to establish herself as perhaps one of the NCAA’s all-time great shooters. Maggie still needs to continue developing her ball handling (her #1 goal this past offseason) and strength around the rim to become an elite WNBA prospect, but her current skill set is one that could allow her to continue to chase records on the division 1 level.
When it comes to scoring efficiently and prolifically on the perimeter, few can compare to Lucas. She broke Penn State’s freshman scoring record (552 points) despite coming off the bench. After her first two seasons, Maggie is on pace to finish her career with about 2,500 points, but if she continues to improve at isolation offense and getting to the foul line, as well as leading her team deep into the NCAA Tournament (meaning 5 or 6 more games per year to rack up stats), she could creep up on fellow Penn Stater Kelly Mazzante’s Big Ten records of career points (2,919), and 3pt field goals made (357).
There are also spots where Lucas can distinguish herself from Mazzante and thrust herself into the conversation as one of the best women’s college basketball scorers to ever lace ‘em up. While Mazzante will always be revered in Nittany Lion lore, she was never able to win the Wade Trophy or bring a national title home to State College, PA. These two feats by themselves would separate Lucas from Mazzante, let alone if she were able to accomplish them in the same season. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves; national titles are not won in October, and there is much work to be done.
“Everyone knows she’s the first one in the gym and stays later than everyone. She wants her teammates to be better, and she wants to be better too – no matter how many accolades she gets.” –team captain Gizelle Studevent
In the meantime, we can enjoy watching one of the greats work to perfect her craft as she continues to climb women’s college basketball’s all-time ranks.