Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

WNBA Report: Former Penn State Star Maggie Lucas Adjusting to Life in the Pros

(Guru's Note: This is Rob's sidebar below his game story from Washington Friday night. The Guru chatted briefly late Friday night with new Boston U. coach Katy Stedding, the former Stanford star, and the conversation will continue after she flies East Sunday. And then the Guru will post the interview. )

By Rob Knox
@knoxrob1

WASHINGTON –
During her short time in the WNBA, Maggie Lucas has become an expert at making adjustments.

After being drafted 21st overall by the Phoenix Mercury in April’s draft, the former Penn State standout and Germantown Academy graduate out of Philadelphia was traded to the Indiana Fever at the end of training camp.

She appeared in two preseason games for the Mercury.

Despite having had to quickly learn a new offensive and defensive system and get to know a new set of teammates, Lucas is comfortable in her role for the Fever.

With Indiana’s roster reduced Friday because injuries kept reigning WNBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week Briann January and perennial All-Star Tamika Catchings out of the lineup, Lucas made the most of her opportunity to contribute to the Fever’s 64-61 comeback victory over the host Mystics at the Verizon Center.

Lucas was on the floor when the Fever eventually took control and then held off a late Washington rally.

“You have to stay ready and have that mentality that when you do go into the game, you will make a positive impact,” Lucas said. “Anything I can do and contribute positively is my role. It’s a process and I am taking everything day by day as I continue to get more comfortable.”

Lucas played 15 of the 20 possible second half minutes and shined.

Overall, the three-point shooting ace, who set career marks for the Lady Lions from beyond the arc and on the foul line, played a career best 23 minutes.

The time included all 10 in the entire final quarter. Prior to the Mystics game, Lucas had never played more than 18 minutes a game in her budding career as a pro.

She made two 3-point baskets at critical junctures of the game to finish with six points.

Her first 3-pointer gave the Fever its first lead of the game, 43-41 with 3 minutes, 3 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

That basket kickstarted a 10-1 Indiana burst to finish the frame.

Later in the game, Lucas drained another trey that gave Indiana its largest lead of the night, 59-49, with 5:55 remaining. She also added three rebounds and a blocked shot late in the action.

On both of her 3-pointers, Lucas was wide open as she did what she does best: Catch, shoot and score. That was something foreign to her at Penn State. Lucas still scored 2,510 points despite facing a variety of defenses designed to slow her down.

“I would say one of the biggest adjustments for me here so far is the weight of what I have to do,” Lucas said.

“At Penn State, there was a lot of focus on me and I rarely got a lot of catch-and-shoot opportunities because I faced a lot of box and ones and things like that.

"Here, I have to be ready to catch-and-shoot because there’s not a lot of tight defense on me here. That’s an adjustment for sure.”

Studying a new playbook, understanding the nuances of the Fever’s complicated defensive schemes and getting to acclimated to life in the WNBA has kept Lucas busy since her arrival in Indiana.

Her point total against the Mystics was more than what she scored in her last three games combined. She did score a career high 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting against the Mystics on May 23.

“My teammates are helping me out everyday here,” Lucas said. “They’re talking to me and making sure I am on the same page.

"I wasn’t here for camp, but when I got traded, they did a good job of helping me get up to speed. I didn’t worry about the trade or the adjustments because of it," Lucas added.

"I am just fortunate to be on a team and play in the WNBA. I am just happy to be here.”

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad

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