Ten Questions With Lady Lions Maggie Lucas
Maggie Lucas has made quite an impression in her first year on the Penn State women’s basketball team. Lucas leads the Lady Lions in scoring at 16.6 points per game. She has won the Big Ten freshman of the week award six times this season. In the January 16 game against Illinois, she also broke Kelly Mazzante’s Penn State record for 3-pointers made by a freshman. Onward State got a chance to speak with Lucas via e-mail to discuss her amazing freshman season.
Onward State: When and why did you start playing basketball?
Maggie Lucas: I first started shooting and playing with a basketball when I was about four years old in my back yard with my older brothers Pete and Ben and my Dad, Al Lucas. At that age I would have done anything if it meant doing what my brothers were doing, it just so happened that I ended up falling in love with the game, and never wanting to put the ball down.
OS: Who were your basketball idols growing up?
ML: Growing up my biggest basketball idol was most definitely Kristen “Ace” Clement. She was from Philly, and one time she was playing vs. Saint Joe’s with the Tennessee Lady Vols at Saint Joe’s, and something my dad and I always enjoyed doing was going to women’s basketball games together. And he told me, “Mags there is this great player from Philly who is coming to play the Hawks, wanna go check her out?” I was actually a huge Lady Vols fan for a while because of how much I loved to watch her play. I also have always been a huge Larry Bird fan, I love watching his highlights, but I wear 33 because of Kristen Clement, I knew who she was before I knew who Larry Bird was. I also was obsessed with Pistol Pete Maravich, I used to watch all of his instructional videos, I would sit in front of the TV with a pad and paper and plan out my ball handling drills for the day. But as of right now Kobe is my main man. Sorry long answer, just had to give love to all my favorites.
OS: What brought you to Penn State?
ML: What brought me to Penn State was the potential I see in the program, and how I believe that being on a team that is trying to establish themselves once again as a national powerhouse would push me to work even harder. Also, staying close enough to my family so that they can be at all of my home games is very important to me.
OS: How is your freshman experience going? Is it hard to balance school work, social life and basketball?
ML: My freshman experience is going pretty good. One of the biggest adjustments for me has simply been living away from home. I love my hometown so much, I live in a really close-knit community which is amazing, and I also love how close my house is to the city, so that has been tough. Balancing school, basketball and my social life isn’t as hard as everyone might think. It is just all about making the right decisions and managing your time correctly.
OS: You broke the record for 3-pointers made by a freshman. What does that record mean to you?
ML: My goals going into a season are never to break individual records, but if that happens along the way I hope that my performance that has led to those records has been positive for my team. Also something like that does not happen without my teammates looking for me and trusting me to take the shots I take. But I most definitely feel honored to be placed anywhere near Kelly Mazzante in the record books, she was an unbelievable player at Penn State, and definitely one of, if not the, best player to wear the Lady Lion uniform.
OS: How would you rate the season so far for the team?
ML: I don’t want to rate this season quite yet, because there are still many games to be played, and a lot more work to be put in. And I would like to see how we are able to finish the season until I rated us on any kind of scale.
OS: What are your and the team’s goals for the rest of the season?
ML: At this point in the season our team goals are to keep improving, we want to be in a position to win the Big Ten Tournament and to make the NCAA Tournament. Neither is easy to achieve, but I know that this team is willing to do the work necessary.
OS: How much of an advantage is it for the team that you are the team’s leading scorer despite coming off the bench?
ML: I think that it is a pretty good advantage, but my main concern is to just do what my team needs me to do in order to get wins. Whether I am starting or not, it is important that I be a positive spark for my team.
OS: Four of the team’s five losses are on the road–why the road struggles?
ML: Playing on the road is a very difficult thing to do, especially in the Big Ten. The team that wins the Big Ten this year will most likely be the team that has figured out how to win on the road. So at this point we have had some disappointing loses, but from each one I think that we have learned a lot, and we are just going to get more and more confident playing road games.
OS: Maggie Lucas vs. Talor Battle in a game of HORSE–who wins?
ML: Maggie Lucas vs. Talor Battle in a game of HORSE has actually already taken place. Sorry to put you out there like this Talor, but yea I won. I am sure he’s going to be looking for a rematch real soon though after this.