WBK | Trio Of 1,000-Point Scorers Make History
Stella Beck, Megan McKay and Sydney Raggio mark the second time in SMC women's basketball history the team has had three active 1,000-point scorers
MORAGA, Calif. - There is an exclusive club on the campus of Saint Mary's where students don't sign up for membership - they earn it.
The club is so exclusive, only three of the campus' nearly 4,000 students are members this year. In fact, it's the only the second time in school history that the club has had three members at the same time.
Senior guard Stella Beck, junior forward Megan McKay and junior forward Sydney Raggio of the Saint Mary's women's basketball team have each joined an elite group of women this season. All three scored their 1,000th career point in 2017-18, joining the Saint Mary's 1,000 career points club that now contains 23 names from over the past 40 years.
"I think once Syd got it I at least thought Meg must not be far off it," said Beck, who was the first of the trio to reach the 1,000 career points milestone this season.
Beck tallied her 1,000th career point at the free-throw line on Nov. 24 against UC Santa Barbara. Raggio followed on Jan. 27 on the road, putting in a fourth-quarter layup for her 999th and 1,000th career points. McKay is the newest member of the club, having scored a career-high 30 points on Feb. 22 at Pepperdine to pass the 1,000 career points mark in the fourth quarter.
"I've never really looked at numbers exactly. I didn't even know I was close and I didn't know Syd was close, and the only reason I thought Meg was close is because I didn't know I or Syd were close so I thought, 'Maybe Meg's already got 1,000,'" said Beck with a laugh.
Beck, McKay and Raggio all admit they had no idea they were approaching the milestone, and only found out after the fact when it was announced on social media and in postgame recaps.
"I didn't have any idea. I didn't think I'd ever reach 1,000 points," said Raggio, who added she didn't score 1,000 points in high school at St. Ignatius in San Francisco, where she was the West Catholic Athletic League Player of the Year in 2014-15.
"I got on the bus and (associate head coach) Tracy (Sanders yelled it out and I thought, 'Oh, cool. I'm in the club!'" said McKay on hearing about her milestone.
FOLLOWING IN FOOTSTEPS
There is another member of the exclusive club on campus, and she is very close with the active members - that's associate head coach Tracy Sanders, who departed as the school's all-time leading scorer after putting up 1,807 points from 1996-2000.
Now, Sanders has been able to witness the accomplishments of the three young women currently playing for the Gaels, after she achieved the same in the same uniform.
"I think it's all the hard work that they've put in leading up to this," said Sanders about the trio's accomplishment. "It's really neat to see and to have all three of them together. I think they all complement each other really well.
"I think they all have a good understanding of what they're good at and how to end up more in those situations. That part has been fun to kind of teach and make them understand where you do it.
"These are three kids who are going to have their jerseys hanging on the back wall. They're just kids who have been a huge part of our success here. I think the caliber of women's basketball is continually getting better and so for them to do what they've done in this day and age, can't say enough about them. They're a true part of our program and the success we've had."
Paul Thomas TAKES
Saint Mary's women's basketball head coach Paul Thomas has over a quarter-century of successful basketball on his resume, but what Beck, McKay and Raggio have accomplished this season is still a rarity in his career.
"I would say probably not," said Thomas when trying to remember if he ever had three 1,000 career points scorers on his Cal Poly Pomona teams, where he won two NCAA Division II national championships.
"That's pretty incredible. Two of them are juniors so there's more to come.
"When you look at the record book, to see what this group has done, not only this current group but the group before them and the group before them, it's really just stacking standards and expectations that go one step higher, and I think that's impressive."
Feeding the monster that is three players averaging at least 14.2 points per game each this season, and between 11.0 and 12.0 points per game throughout their careers, is no easy task. But Beck, McKay and Raggio, along with the SMC coaching staff, has found a balance that has made these three players and the team successful as a whole.
"It's easier and harder," said Thomas about the trio's milestone. "It's easier because you have good players around you, but it's harder because you have other people you're sharing the ball with. I think that's a very unique situation. So I think it speaks volumes about their character and their unselfishness as teammates. I'm just happy and proud of all of them.
The first member of the Saint Mary's women's basketball 1,000 career points scorers club was Mary Ann Little, who played on the first four teams in program history from 1978-82 en route to setting the program standard at 1,351 points. That wouldn't be broken until four years later when Anne Cooper set the benchmark of 1,800 points in 1986, where it would stay for 14 years before Sanders passed it.
The most recent member of the club before the Gaels' current trio was Lauren Nicholson (2012-16), who finished her career with 1,374 points. The first occurence of three 1,000 points scorers on the same Saint Mary's team was in 2013-14, when Kate Gaze, Danielle Mauldin and Jackie Nared all had four digits worth of career points.
"I think it's a pretty cool thing," said Raggio. "I think it's cool to have three 1,000-point players on the team. I think that's a good achievement to have."
"I think it's something I never really considered would happen," said Beck about scoring 1,000 points. "It's a cool culture they have with basketball in the (United) States where they mark milestones every year. It's exciting. I think it's a huge thing for our team to have three such dominant scorers."
"It's an awesome accomplishment," added McKay. "Especially to join such an awesome club."
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