CHICAGO — Penn State’s Maggie Lucas was selected as the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year by both the coaches and media at the annual Big Ten Media Day on Thursday.
The Lady Lions, the two-time defending conference regular-season champions, were picked to finish second behind Nebraska by both groups.
Lucas, the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year, was a unanimous pick by both the coaches and media.
She averaged 20.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game as a junior. She currently ranks second in program history and third in Big Ten history in 3-point field goals made with 292. Lucas is also seventh in Penn State history with 1,838 points and is first in free throw percentage (.900) and 3-point field goal percentage (.462).
“Maggie has done a fantastic job of being a leader, growing into a leadership role,” Penn State coach Coquese Washington said Thursday. “Every year she has added new things to her game and this year I think one of the biggest is growth and leadership and being patient and having poise.”
Joining Lucas on both first teams was Nebraska’s Jordan Hooper, Minnesota’s Rachel Banham and Purdue’s Courtney Moses. Michigan State’s Klarissa Bell was named the final preseason team member on the coaches ballot and Iowa’s Samantha Logic made the media team.
Nebraska, with four starters returning from a 25-9 and Sweet 16 squad last season, topped Penn State as the preseason favorite.
“This is the first time Nebraska has been picked to win whatever conference we were in,” Cornhusker coach Connie Yori said. “I didn’t pick us to win the Big Ten. I don’t know why anyone else did. We have a lot of work to do.”
Penn State (26-6 last season) returns six players, including starters Lucas and Dara Taylor and key reserve Ariel Edwards. The Lady Lions boast a freshman class of seven players.
“Our practices are interesting, you never know what you’re going to get day in and day out,” Washington said. “Some days they look fantastic and other days they don’t. So practice is an adventure every day for our coaching staff.”
Michigan State was selected to finish third.