From on the bench to leading the scoreboard

women's basketball

Lucy Criswell, a junior power forward from Portland, Oregon, was named the preseason All-American athlete by Photos by Orion Huang

As a freshman, Lucy Criswell was often sat during games after getting into foul trouble, but now, in her junior year, Criswell is one of the team’s leading scorers

Lucy Criswell played aggressively when she first joined the Chapman’s women’s basketball team. Her coach, Carol Jue, often sat her during games since she would repeatedly get into foul trouble.

Despite an inconsistent freshman year, Criswell, a junior, has since stepped up, Jue said. Criswell is now one of the team’s leading scorers with a total of 56 points scored in two games so far this season.

“(She’s) really grown,” Jue said. “As a freshman, she had a hard time staying on the court because she was always getting in foul trouble… (but) she’s one of the few who is first in the gym and the last to leave.”

In spite of her limited playing time her freshman year and a game average of 4.1 points, Criswell said her dedication helped her better her scoring skills. In her sophomore season she averaged 15.1 points per game and was named the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Athlete of the Year.

“I’ve become a lot more comfortable challenging myself,” said Criswell. “I’m not normally someone who is a very vocal person, but I’ve had to become one out of necessity.”

At 5’10, Criswell is one of the tallest players on the team and has learned how to use her height as an advantage.

“I did play guard in high school, but I came here and I was the tallest,” Criswell said. “I only got playing time as a post because we had so many skilled guards … last year, I was able to do a little bit of both.”

women's basketball

Criswell was also awarded Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Athlete of the Year during her sophomore season.

While some players may view a change in position negatively, Criswell said it gave her a better understanding of the game, allowing her to break down the game from the perspective of a guard and a post.

Criswell has adapted to play the “stretch four,” a modern position that allows players to score on the outside and handle the ball like guards.

“I would definitely prefer guarding players in the post,” Criswell said. “Sometimes it’s harder for me to keep up with the speed of guards on the perimeter.”

Criswell sees herself as an offensive-minded player and said her defensive skills could use improvement. Jue wants Criswell to be more aggressive on the defensive end.

“For her to be able to score 32 points (in one game) … it’s a testament to her hard work,” Jue said. “She’s getting better at helping defense and that’s really nice.”

Criswell said her confidence has allowed her to help lead the team.

“It has really allowed me to bring a group of people together,” Criswell said. “You have to win games as a team. Even if you have five good players, you can’t win unless you play as a team, and that applies to every area of life.”