espnW: Maggie Lucas

Watch: Lucas, Penn St. off to Cali

March, 29, 2014
Mar 29

Penn State star Maggie Lucas takes you to California with the Nittany Lions as they prepare for their Sweet 16 appearance in the women’s NCAA tournament.

Leaving our fans with a big 'W'

March, 27, 2014
Mar 27
Maggie LucasCourtesy of Penn State Athletic CommunicationsAfter a win over Florida on Tuesday night, Maggie Lucas bid farewell to the Bryce Jordan Center.

Tuesday was a bittersweet day for me. It was my last time playing as a Lady Lion in front of our home fans, in my favorite place on earth -- Happy Valley. But it also was the day my teammates and I punched our ticket to the Sweet 16, and today we will be loading on the plane and heading out to Palo Alto, Calif.

We could not be happier to be where we are at this point in the season, and personally, there was nothing better than ending my time in the Bryce Jordan Center with a huge tourney “W.’’ We love our fans more than anything and wanted to leave them on a positive note as a thank-you for all of the support they have given us year in and year out.

For the seniors on our team, we can remember our freshman year when we lost to DePaul at home in the second round of the tournament. It was the kind of loss that when we were tired and felt like we couldn’t work any harder, we would remember it and it would push us to limits we never thought we could reach. That is a feeling we have carried with us our entire college career, and I know we took that emotion into our game Tuesday night.

I cannot begin to say how much the Bryce Jordan Center and all of the people who fill it regularly for Lady Lion games have meant to the team and me. I don’t think I could have asked for a better way to go out, and have never felt more blessed. Thanks, Penn State!

Looking forward, we are extremely happy to get on the plane and head out west. After a long winter here in Happy Valley, we are excited to see some sun and warm weather.

In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram @maggielucas33 for updates and a closer look into my NCAA tournament experience.

Watch: Maggie Lucas on first-round win

March, 24, 2014
Mar 24

Penn State guard Maggie Lucas unwinds after an intense first-round win in the women’s NCAA tournament.

Time to get back to business

March, 20, 2014
Mar 20
Penn State Penn State Athletic CommunicationsPenn State opens NCAA tournament play against Wichita State on Sunday at its beloved Bryce Jordan Center.

After what has seemed like forever since the end of the Big Ten tournament, my teammates and I have had a great chance to work on ourselves and improve our team as a whole. This little break allowed us to get fully prepared for the “Big Dance” while also getting refreshed.

Along with every other team in the country, we waited eagerly on Monday to watch the NCAA tournament selection show and found out we had received a No. 3 seed and will be taking on a tough Wichita State team on Sunday. It is always a great feeling to hear your name called and to finally find out who you are going to play. This is by far my favorite time of the entire year. To me nothing is more exciting than March Madness!

The Lady Lions are especially excited for this year’s tournament because we are fortunate enough to be playing on our home court in front of our family, friends and fans at the Bryce Jordan Center. As a senior this also made our Senior Day against Michigan in March a little easier to handle knowing we still had this chance to play on our court.

My first NCAA tournament also was played in the BJC during my freshman year. There is nothing like having your fans that follow you so passionately all season being able to support you in the postseason and packing the BJC.

We are extremely excited to get back on the court. For the rest of the week we will continue to prepare for the Shockers. In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter @maggielucas33 or the Lady Lions @pennstatewbb!

Proud of our amazing freshmen

February, 19, 2014
Feb 19
Maggie, PeytonCourtesy of Penn State Athletic CommunicationsMaggie Lucas says Peyton Whitted is a versatile player who can play inside and out.

Earlier this year I introduced several of my amazing freshmen. Since we have such a large group I wanted to spread them out and give them the attention they each deserve. In this part two of my introduction to the Lady Lions’ outstanding freshmen class you will meet Jenny DeGraaf, Peyton Whitted and Kaliyah Mitchell.

I first met Jenny DeGraaf at our summer camp two years ago, and she instantly won my heart over when she led my team to the camp championship. It was my first championship as a coach and she was my star, so obviously I was very excited to hear that she would soon be my teammate. Jenny is a hardworking player, and she can definitely shoot the ball. This summer I was impressed by Jenny because she was always texting and calling me to make sure I took her to the gym with me to go through shooting workouts together. I look forward to seeing what Jenny does with the rest of her career.

[+] EnlargePeyton and Kaliyah
Penn State Athletic CommunicationsPeyton Whitted and Kaliyah Mitchell are two of three players from Georgia on the team.

Next is Peyton Whitted, one of our three Georgia girls on the team. Peyton is a long and athletic player who can play inside and out. She has a sweet lefty jumper but can also post up and score in the paint. Peyton has been a huge contributor this season and has proven to be a great spark for our team. She is a versatile player and I can only expect big things for Peyton as she continues to improve and work hard through her time at Penn State.

Last but certainly not least of the freshman group is Kaliyah Mitchell. K is another one of our Georgia girls (the last being junior Tori Waldner). Kaliyah has been our sixth woman for much of this season, and she has been a consistent and reliable player all year. Kaliyah is a strong guard, she can take it to the hoop and score with contact and she can guard some of the other teams’ best players. At the end of the game when we need a big rebound or a clutch putback, I can always expect that Kaliyah will come through for us.

We are truly lucky to have such a strong and mature group of freshmen on our team. I am extremely sad that I will have only one year to play with these ladies, but I cannot wait to see what is in store for them in the rest of their careers at Penn State.

This week we play Northwestern at home and then we head to Nebraska on Monday for a game that will air on ESPN2. Until then you can follow me on Twitter @maggielucas33 or the Lady Lions @pennstatewbb!

Taking one day at a time in Big Ten

January, 18, 2014
Jan 18
LucasAP Photo/Abby DreyPenn State is 3-1 in Big Ten play and heads to Michigan State on Sunday.

With the Big Ten season well under way -- we are four games in -- it is clear the conference is going to be a battle. One of the reasons I love playing in this conference so much is because of the strength of the teams, top to bottom. Just three games into Big Ten play, only one team has an unbeaten record, which shows just how competitive this league is.

It doesn’t matter who you are playing, home or away, any team has the ability to win on any given day. There seems to be some sort of rivalry between every team in the Big Ten, and with the new teams set to join the conference next season, I am excited to see new rivalries form.

We are 3-1 in conference play and most recently beat Ohio State at home. I continue to enjoy every chance I get to play at Bryce Jordan Center in front of the Penn State fans and my family.

This weekend we will be traveling to Michigan State, which sits at the top of the Big Ten standings and is the only unbeaten team that I mentioned earlier.

The most important point of focus during the long, grueling conference schedule is to take one day at a time and continue to grow as a team and improve.

Wish us luck on the road and I will be checking back in next week. You can follow me on Twitter @maggielucas33 or the Lady Lions @pennstatewbb.

Freshmen bring fresh energy

December, 19, 2013
Penn State Freshmen Penn State Athletic CommunicationsThe freshman class has brought an abundance of talent and energy to the Penn State program.

Over the past year, the look of the Lady Lions has changed tremendously. Much of that has to do with our seven freshmen, who have not only brought a boatload of talent, but also a new and refreshing energy to our program. Since we have so many, I am going to introduce just a few at a time throughout the course of the year.

Keke Sevillian was one of the first freshmen who committed to Penn State, probably even earlier than I did back in the day. Keke is one of our point guards, and she continues what seems to be a Lady Lion tradition of being one of the quickest point guards around. She is an unbelievable on-ball defender and has been a huge spark plug for our team.

Our other freshman point guard is Lindsey Spann. Unfortunately, Lindsey is out this season with a torn ACL. But if I know one thing about Lindsey, it is that she is a competitor, and she has been working incredibly hard to get stronger and better than ever. From watching and playing with her before the season, Lindsey is the kind of point guard that can make you pay with pinpoint passes while also being an aggressive and crafty scorer.

On the inside, adding even more skill to our post group, is Alex Harris. Alex reminds me of playing with Mia Nickson, who graduated last year. She may be slightly undersized but what she lacks in height she makes up for in athleticism and toughness. Alex has stepped up for us in so many ways this year. She blocks shots, rebounds, throws great outlet passes and finishes strong at the hoop.

Stay tuned because there are plenty more freshmen to meet!

We’re finishing up our semester strong with exams, and this weekend we will take on Alcorn State before we head home for a short, but much needed, holiday break.

Until next time, you can follow me on Twitter @maggielucas33 or the Lady Lions @pennstatewbb!

A milestone for everyone

December, 12, 2013
Maggie Lucas Penn State Athletic CommunicationsPenn State has a lot of offensive threats, and Maggie Lucas says that has helped her be successful.

I hit a pretty big milestone in my career at Georgetown on Sunday, scoring my 2,000th point. When I was asked what the milestone meant to me, all I could really think was that this was something I shared with my whole program and all of the amazing players and coaches I have had the opportunity to work and play with these past three and a half years.

I know one of the major reasons I have been able to be successful is due to the multitude of offensive threats and the balance of our attack. I have played with two outstanding, elite point guards in Alex Bentley and Dara Taylor. As many know, Alex has continued her career in the WNBA with the Atlanta Dream and was on the All-Rookie team this season. Dara and I have been playing together for about 12 years, dating to our AAU days, and she is one of the quickest and craftiest passers out there.

Additionally, in the post we have had so much talent and size that forces defenses to respect our inside-outside threat. I have played with Nikki Greene, who is currently playing overseas in Korea, and Mia Nickson, who was one of the toughest players I have ever played with. My current bigs include Talia East, Tori Waldner, Candice Agee, Alex Harris and Infiniti Alston.

My position coach, Fred Chmiel, also has been one of my biggest influences throughout college. As each year has gone by, he has kept me developing and has taken my game to a new level. He pushes me to think the game and never make excuses. For that, I share this milestone with him a million percent!

This is in no way an individual accomplishment, and I am so grateful for the players and coaches I have been surrounded with and will continue to enjoy every second I have left here at Penn State.

Until next week, you can follow me on Twitter @maggielucas33 or the Lady Lions @pennstatewbb!

Living it up in the Bahamas

November, 27, 2013
LucasPenn State Athletics It took a long, tiring journey from State College to get there, but the turquoise waters of the Bahamas were worth it for the Penn State basketball team.

Right now the Lady Lions are living it up in the Bahamas! We are looking forward to getting out on the courts and getting our games in the Junkanoo Jam started, but in the meantime we have been practicing and enjoying the experience here.

Getting to the Bahamas was a journey on its own. We left State College at 12:30 a.m. on Monday and drove four hours to Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. Then we hopped on a plane down to Miami, and finally got on our last leg of the journey, a quick 25-minute flight to the Grand Island. After a long night of travel with very little sleep, we were finally in the beautiful city of Freeport.

We took the rest of our first day to catch up on rest and get our bearings. We were quick to head down to the pools and beach, check out the ocean and do some body surfing. Later that night, two of my teammates, Jenny DeGraaf and Tori Waldner, and I tried conch for the first time, which seems to be a very popular dish in the Bahamas. We were very impressed!

I will be updating with some video in the next week, including our visit with the dolphins, our games and the Junkanoo Jam experience! In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter @maggielucas33 or the Lady Lions @pennstatewbb.

Shooters hone these skills

November, 21, 2013
Maggie LucasAP Photo/Nati HarnikMaggie Lucas developed a quick release at a young age, and its one of her biggest strengths as a shooter.

For pretty much my entire basketball life I have been considered a “shooter,” which means if I get a clear look I am letting that thing fly. I started to think about what makes some of the best shooters and what some of the qualities are that a pure shooter must have to be successful.

From growing up watching and studying some of the best shooters of all time, such as Ray Allen, Reggie Miller and Larry Bird; recounting my own experiences; and watching others in women’s college basketball, such as Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Tricia Liston, Jordan Hooper and Rachel Banham, I came up with a few ingredients I think are most important for a shooter to possess.

Repetition: A great shooter takes thousands upon thousands of shots before ever getting on the court and playing games. This creates muscle memory and a consistent shot.

Short memory: This is one of the most important qualities a shooter must have. For me, this always has meant not letting one, two or even five misses stick in your mind. The main focus has to be remembering the feeling of what a great make feels like and the rhythm used to make that shot. Letting a few misses pile up in your mind will keep you from taking advantage of the next great shot that becomes available.

Quick release: I can remember going to a doctor when I was around 12 and being told, based on the height of my parents, especially my cute little mom, that I wouldn’t grow taller than 5-2. Instead of getting caught up in that, I went home and told my dad we had to make my release as quick as possible. Luckily for me, I ended up growing 7 inches more than predicted, and because I developed a quick release, getting my shot off with little space became one of my biggest strengths as a shooter.

I think the best example of a quick release is Ray Allen. Go back to last year and Game 6 of the NBA Finals, when it seemed as if the Heat were going to cough up a crucial game on their home court. With just seconds left, Allen got off a seemingly impossible 3 over the Spurs’ defender, sending the game into overtime, where the Heat would win.

Knowing your form: For me, in addition to having a short memory, being able to critique my shot on the fly is key. My position coach, Fred Chmiel, has been very good at helping me identify what is “off” with my shot when I miss a shot or two. He always asks me, “Why?” and I usually can identify where I need to adjust my form. There are so many different shooting forms out there, but as long as you are consistent and correct your usual mistakes, you can be a successful shooter.

Footwork: It’s likely the defense is going to be pretty aware of where a shooter is at all times. For this reason, it is important to have efficient movement. While in college, I have worked to improve my footwork, and I have to admit Coach Fred is a footwork genius. He has taught me some of the most efficient and effective footwork when coming off all kinds of screens to create my own shot.

Well, until next time, I hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving! The Lady Lions will be headed to the Bahamas for the Junkanoo Jam for some exciting, competitive games and beautiful weather! Follow me on Twitter @maggielucas33 or the Lady Lions @pennstatewbb!

Excited for my senior season

November, 7, 2013
LucasPenn State AthleticsMaggie Lucas and her Penn State teammates kick off the season Friday against St. Francis (Pa.).

It’s about that time again! I’m back and beyond hyped for the start of a new Lady Lions basketball season.

The look of our team has changed a lot after graduating five seniors last year -- Alex Bentley, Nikki Greene, Gizelle Studevent, Mia Nickson and Marisa Wolfe. They will be greatly missed, but we are extremely excited about the boatload of new talent in our group of eight newcomers. What has impressed me most about our freshmen and our one transfer is the energy they bring every day, their commitment to getting better and adjusting to the speed and intensity of the college game.

Since the last time you heard from me, I have spent the majority of my time in the gym with my team preparing for what I believe is another promising year. After a long off-season, I know I can speak for my whole team, in that we are just itching to get back on the court and start playing some real games.

It’s my senior season and I plan on enjoying every moment of it -- the highs, the lows, the adversity and the success.

So far, I couldn’t have asked for a better college experience. Penn State has become my home and given so much to me, and I could honestly do about four more years at this place. But, since this is my last year, I might as well make the best of it. I look forward to what is to come, and I will keep you updated all season long.

Our first game is Friday night against Saint Francis (Pa.). We will put the cap on the 2013 season and raise our Big Ten championship banner. We are back in action Sunday afternoon vs. Fordham.

Until next week, you can follow me on Twitter @maggielucas33!

I'm excited to begin preparing for next season

April, 4, 2013
Maggie LucasAP Photo/Bill FeigThe season ended earlier than Maggie Lucas and her Penn State teammates wanted, but she's already talking about getting back in the gym.

The season unfortunately has come to an end for the Lady Lions, but we can still walk away with many great accomplishments and memories. The reality of March Madness is that only one team leaves happy. No one wants to end her season any earlier than she has to, but from every loss there is so much you can learn.

One of the hardest things is saying goodbye to our seniors, but we are all wishing them the best of luck in their future beyond Penn State. One thing I can say without hesitation is that our seniors have taught us what it takes to win and just how hard you have to work to be successful.

Looking forward, the Lady Lions and I are excited to get back in the gym and begin preparing for next season. We are aware of the hard work we have ahead of us, but we are prepared to continue to grow and learn from our experiences thus far.

I would like to thank everyone who followed my blog this season. I really enjoyed sharing stories with you about different relationships and places that have helped mold me into the player and person I am today.

This summer I am going to be my usual gym-rat self and spend my time at summer session at Penn State, but I also will return home for a while. I look forward to spending my summer nights down at the Narberth courts and getting ready for next year!

Feel free to follow me on Twitter throughout the offseason @maggielucas33!

Behind the scenes at the tournament

March, 26, 2013

Penn State's Maggie Lucas catches her Lady Lions teammates having some fun -- and sneaking a few snacks -- during their "off" day in the NCAA tournament.

Taking a break on Bourbon St.

March, 24, 2013

Penn State's Maggie Lucas brings the camera along on a team shopping trip in New Orleans before the Lady Lions' first-round NCAA tournament game against Cal Poly.

We can't wait to get to Baton Rouge

March, 22, 2013
Maggie Lucas and her Penn State teammates take off for Baton Rouge, La., where first-round opponent Cal Poly awaits.
Penn state farewellPenn State Athletic CommunicationsA huge thank you to our women's lacrosse team, which came over to the Bryce Jordan Center to form a tunnel and send us off to the airport. Here, the laxers and our fans give us a great "We Are'' chant as the bus pulls away.
Maggie LucasPenn State Athletic CommunicationsAfter a security check at the University Park Airport, I am ready to roll and excited to head to Baton Rouge.
Candice Agee and Gizelle StudeventPenn State Athletic CommunicationsCandice Agee and Gizelle Studevent are proud of the wings the flight attendant gave us when we boarded the plane.
Maggie and SadiePenn State Athletic CommunicationsOur strength coach, Brad Pantall, brought his family on the trip to Baton Rouge. My little buddy, Brad's daughter Sadie, came up for a visit before we took off.
Penn State Happy to be warmPenn State Athletic CommunicationsMy teammates and I were so excited to step off the plane into the warm weather.