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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Senior’s Mentality

Seniors Mentality

LaKeisha Tucker’s name may one day hang from the rafters in the Clark Athletic Center. But if she has it her way, her legacy won’t be something found on a banner or in a stat sheet.

“When my career is over, I want to be remembered as a good teammate,” Tucker says. “There are plenty of great ballplayers out there, but not as many great teammates.”

It’s impossible to measure Tucker’s effect as a teammate through numbers or a box score. However, it’s not difficult to see Tucker ascending up the all-time scoring charts for the Lady Beacons.

Tucker’s career average of 15 points per game currently ranks fifth in Beacon history, and she has the second-highest point total in a single game. On January 21, 2006, she dropped 32 points against Eastern Connecticut. She’s also first in free-throw percentage in a season (at 86.8% in 2006-2007) and for her career (77.6%). Currently, Tucker’s single-season point total of 398 ranks eighth on the all-time list.

It’s not just the Beacon record books that Tucker is slashing. Little East Conference defenses had their hands full last year, as Tucker averaged 15.3 ppg, good for fourth in the conference. She showed a well-rounded game in 2006-07, finding the conference’s top-ten list in field goal percentage, assists, free-throw percentage, 3-point percentage and 3-point field goals made.

Tucker isn’t interested in her statistics, however. Her team-first mantra isn’t just lip service being paid by another high-profile college athlete. After spending just a few minutes with the energetic senior guard, it’s impossible not to believe that her goals are team-oriented.

“My personal goal for the season is to win the Little East title,” the senior guard says. “The first step to doing that is getting to host a playoff game for the second year in a row.”

Clearly motivated by last season’s opening-round playoff loss at home, Tucker knows that her last shot at LEC glory will be in the coming months. She won’t take this chance for granted, and is willing to do whatever it takes to capture a place in history. Which That is why, based on her early-season shooting struggles, she’s content with coming off the bench.

I’ll do whatever Coach [Shawn] Polk wants me to do, whether it’s coming off the bench or starting,” Tucker says. Her coach, of course, is in agreement with Tucker’s unselfish mentality.

“She’s started slowly, but we have every reason to expect her to pick up the pace,” Polk says. “Her hard work will pay off in the end.” At second on the team with 11 ppg, Tucker’s “slow start” would be characterized as a career year by most players.

Despite the new role off the bench, Tucker has a legitimate shot at taking her place among the Beacon greats on the 1,000 Point Club banner hanging in the gym. If Tucker returns to her 15 ppg career scoring average, her name will indeed rank with the elite scorers in school history.

“To be even mentioned with those girls is such an extreme honor, it doesn’t even feel right,” Tucker says. “I’ve met some of the girls on that list and those girls are class acts, on and off the court.”

She clearly appreciates what a record like this means, but, once again, returns to the team concept. “The 1,000 Point Club is great, but without my teammates, it can’t happen. I know that if I don’t hang out with them, they won’t pass me the ball,” Tucker said with a laugh.

Being a solid teammate is a role that Tucker has grown into as she’s matured. After transferring from Division II St. Anselm’s in New Hampshire, Tucker joined the team midseason of her sophomore year. True to her character, she came out aggressive both on the court and with her teammates.

“She had to mature and become a better teammate, but she’s always been someone who supported herself. She’s a great character person,” Polk says.

While her teammates jokingly have labeled her a ball-hog based upon her willingness to shoot, Tucker is loose enough to appreciate the humor. “My teammates know that when the ball comes into me, they’re probably not going to see it again,” Tucker chuckles. The maturity to handle such a label is not an accident, but a product of her development.

What is the most frightening thing about her progression made as a player and a teammate? “I’m not developing or maturing yet,” Tucker admits. Opponents and record books, beware.