Germantown Academy standout Maggie Lucas returns as assistant coach

WHITEMARSH >> Maggie Lucas is back in her old stomping grounds.

Lucas, a former standout at Germantown Academy, then Penn State and current Indiana Fever guard, is serving as an assistant coach for the Patriots this year. The sharpshooter felt like she needed some time off from playing and is trying out a new role while she continues to train and improve for her third WNBA season.

It’s also a nice perk for GA’s players to have around.

“Maggie’s been awesome,” guard Cat Polisano said. “She helps us in practice so much, it’s just a big asset.”

Lucas made a name for herself in high school and college with prolific long-range shooting, an unmatched work ethic and a fierce competitive streak that helped her rack up award after award. At GA, she scored 2,197 points, the second-highest total in school history, girls or boys, and was named an McDonald’s All-American as a senior in 2010.

During her time at GA, the Patriots went 112-15, was a four-time all-state pick and averaged 23.0 points per game, 4.5 assists and 3.8 steals per game. She also won the McDonald’s All-American 3-point shootout in 2010.

Moving on to Penn State, it was more of the same. She was the Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year, broke the school’s freshman scoring mark and was the third player in Big Ten history to hit 100 or more 3-pointers in a season.

In her Nittany Lions career, she went to the NCAA tournament four times, was a two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and scored a staggering 2,510 points, second in school history while breaking the school and Big Ten record for career 3-pointers with 365. Lucas was a second-round pick, 21st overall, by the Phoenix Mercury in the 2014 WNBA Draft, but traded to Indiana in training camp.

After her rookie season, Lucas went overseas like many WNBA players and joined French team Arras Pays d’Artois. After returning to Indiana and advancing all the way to the WNBA finals, Lucas figured it was time to take some time off from playing and just work on her game.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Lucas said. “I’d been playing nonstop for a while and knew I needed a little break. It’s something I reached out to (GA coach) Sherri (Retif) about and she was happy to have me. I’m really enjoying being around the girls and back in this environment. I’m having a really good time.”

At Penn State, Lucas made a trick shot video that earned her the nickname “Machine Gun Maggie” and in a bit of Nittany Lion lore, dedicated herself to making 100,000 shots in the summer between her freshman and sophomore years. A quick-release shooter, Lucas said the biggest adjustment to the professional level has been the physicality of the WNBA and overseas.

“I had gone from college to the pros to back to Indiana,” Lucas said. “So, I’ve been playing for quite some time and mentally, physically, I needed a chance to get a break and get back in the weight room and push myself there.”

Lucas had a bigger role in her second season with the Fever but didn’t get many minutes in the Finals. Still, the Narberth native said it was a great experience and her goal is get stronger and quicker so she can be an impact player late in the season.

For many professional athletes across the spectrum, the third season is usually where the big leaps are made. Lucas said her main focus is just keep improving and she’s not trying to get too far ahead.

If anything, she’s telling the current GA players to stay in the moment.

“I tell them just to enjoy these days,” Lucas said. “I look back and these were some of my favorite times. I had some really great teammates who are some of my best friends and it goes by a lot faster than you would ever think at the time.”

Throughout her various stops, Lucas has had a knack for self-identifying areas she needed to improve in. While she’s pretty confident in her technique and skill, Lucas has never felt like she was at the top and saw some things to work on while she works with some younger players.

“Part of the reason I took this time was to get in the weight room and get stronger and faster,” Lucas said. “My skills are pretty sound, it’s about being able to get banged around.”

Tuesday against Episcopal, Lucas was quick off the bench to offer and hand and some encouragement to players coming off the floor.

“It’s funny, but I’m really liking it,” Lucas said. “I like teaching and being that position.”

Lucas also has a basketball clinic set for Sunday at GA for players in grades 6-12. Information is available at Germantown Academy’s website.

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