Before heading to Vanderbilt, Morrison starring for Spalding

All-Metro basketball, soccer player has Cavaliers on national radar

December 29, 2010|By Katherine Dunn, The Baltimore Sun

Maggie Morrison always knew that she wanted to play basketball in college, but she has been an All-Metro forward in soccer as well as an All-Metro guard in basketball. She helped Archbishop Spalding's soccer team to the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference title game in the fall with 21 goals, including seven game winners.

Last month, the 5-foot-7 senior signed with Vanderbilt and now averages 9.9 points, 4.1 assists and 2.3 steals for the No. 1 Spalding girls basketball team, which is playing this week at the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix, Ariz. She played Amateur Athletic Union basketball last summer with the Maryland Lady Terps. With a 3.5 grade-point average, Morrison is considering a major in forensic science.

Question: How did you get started playing basketball?

Answer: My sister Bridget was just getting into it at the time. She was 5. I was 3. Dad was coaching, so I would go to all the games and just pick it up.

Q: When you were little, did you play on the same team with your sister?

A: I was the kid in the corner playing with the basketball, but once I turned 4 and 5 I was playing on the older teams just because it was easier for my parents transportation-wise. I had always played up with her no matter what I was doing.

Q: Was that a good thing for you, playing up with her?

A: I definitely think so. I think it helped my skill set a lot, quicker and faster, because they were always bigger and better. It made me have to play up to their level.

Q: Do you think it helps your basketball game to have played other sports?

A: Yes and I also think playing basketball helps me with the other sports, because if you look at soccer, spacing is a big thing just like on the basketball court. In lacrosse, hand-eye coordination and stick skills, all that stuff kind of goes with the ball-handling skills, and spacing on the lacrosse field is just like basketball, so I think certain elements in each sport help with the other ones.

Q: What does it mean for your team to be nationally ranked, No. 25 in USA Today?

A: It is an overwhelming experience. We've never had that in the history of Spalding basketball. Especially for the seniors, we've been working since freshman year [with] four of us playing on varsity. It is a huge, huge accomplishment. When we found out, we were going crazy. We were so excited.

Q: This team has so much talent, how does everyone get her chance?

A: In certain games, there are certain people who will step up. Like if Sherae (Swinson)'s not playing well down low, you know Camille (Calhoun) will step up and vice versa. Or if we need a big shot and my shot's not on, Raven (Makins) or Brya (Freeland) can shoot it or Girlie (Curtis). I think the fact that we're all so strong makes us hard to beat and hard to defend. We have people who can score and who can shoot and none of us are selfish. Nobody's really worried about me, me, me.

Q: Do you all get along really well off the court too?

A: If we have late practice or late games and we have school that day, almost the entire team comes over to my house. We hang out, eat, watch TV. We're always laughing. I think it makes it easier to play on the court, because we know what each other's strengths are and where everyone's going to be. If someone's down, we know what to say to pick them up and it makes the season a lot more fun.

Q: Why play soccer and not just concentrate on basketball?

A: One big thing especially here was the team. The girls are amazing. I still talk to a couple of them who graduated last year. Also, the mental break from basketball, I think, is good for me. You read about so many girls getting too burnt out to play in college and I definitely was not going to take that chance.

Q: Look at Elena Delle Donne (the No. 1 college basketball recruit in 2008 who was headed to Connecticut but announced that she was burned out and now plays volleyball and basketball at Delaware).

A: My mom actually grew up with her parents, so I knew her pretty well. It was kind of just like, "What are you doing?" when that happened.

Q: Did you learn something from her?

A: Definitely. She was one of those No. 1 recruits nationally, going to UConn, a huge figure for a lot of younger girls who looked up to her and then the fact that she did get burnt out. I think all the pressure put on her played a huge role too, so my parents were always like, "If it's not what you want to do, don't do it." I think playing soccer definitely kept me mentally in it with basketball.

Q: What's your ultimate goal with basketball?

A: I would love to play in the WNBA or if I can't play here, I would love to play overseas. Traveling has always been something I've wanted to do. I've never been out of the country, so playing overseas, not only would I be doing something I love, but I would be seeing the world. I think that would be a lot of fun.

Q: What do you enjoy most about sports?

A: The competitive aspect. My family, coming from five kids, we're all so competitive. Nobody wants to lose. We're all still beating each other up to win a stupid little basketball game just out in the front yard. I also think meeting people has impacted my life a lot. My friend Sherae, who's on the team [at Spalding], I met her at 9 years old playing on the Waves. That's a friendship that will last a lifetime.

Q: What's something most people don't know about you?

A: I'm a big puzzle person. I love to do puzzles, especially when I'm stressed out or I have a lot on my mind. I'll just go in my basement and do a puzzle for like an hour, a 1,000-piece puzzle. It takes my mind off everything.

Q: Have you made a New Year's resolution?

A: I don't really see a point in making a New Year's resolution. Why can't you just change it now? Why wait until New Year's to decide to change something?

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

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