Suggs ready to make her mark on the court in year two

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Suggs ready to make her mark on the court in year two

Lacey Suggs (13) heads to the hoop in UNC Wilmington's 81-37 win over Greensboro College on Oct. 29, 2017.

Lacey Suggs (13) heads to the hoop in UNC Wilmington's 81-37 win over Greensboro College on Oct. 29, 2017.

Joe Browning/UNCW Athletic Communications

Lacey Suggs (13) heads to the hoop in UNC Wilmington's 81-37 win over Greensboro College on Oct. 29, 2017.

Joe Browning/UNCW Athletic Communications

Joe Browning/UNCW Athletic Communications

Lacey Suggs (13) heads to the hoop in UNC Wilmington's 81-37 win over Greensboro College on Oct. 29, 2017.

Lanre Badmus, Staff Writer

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The women’s basketball program at UNC Wilmington ushered in an all-new era with the hiring of head coach Karen Barefoot in May.

Barefoot promised big changes. One of those changes was naming walk-on sophomore Lacey Suggs a co-captain and giving her a much larger role to work with after appearing sparingly last season.

“I think she’s going to be an important part for us because she is the spark,” Barefoot said. “She could be a great sixth man, but she could also start or finish a game…when I saw her come out for the team, she fit my style. Her effort is limitless.”

Suggs, a native of White Lake, N.C., was a four-sport athlete at East Bladen High School and a four-year letter winner for the Eagles. She led East Bladen to a 106-11 record during her high school career, won three conference championships and a pair of sectional titles.

She was named the 2015-16 player of the year by both the Wilmington StarNews and the Fayetteville Observer in her senior season after averaging 22.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, and she finished her high school career averaging 18.5 points and 7.1 rebounds a game.

As a result of these exploits, as well as those in volleyball, softball and soccer, Suggs was a runner-up for the North Carolina Female Athlete of the Year in 2016 and a spot at UNCW last season.

However, she only scored two points in three games for a team that struggled under former head coach Adell Harris. It’s not easy for walk-ons to have massive impacts on their teams, but Suggs persevered through the frustration of a lack of playing time.

She credits her teammates, as well as her general fondness for the university, as factors that led her to remain a Seahawk when it seemed easy to transfer elsewhere.

“I stayed mainly because of my teammates,” Suggs said. “They had my back. I enjoyed playing with all of them, and I stayed because I liked it here at UNCW.”

Despite being unable to make much of a mark, Suggs’ hard work, tenacity and resilience made her a popular and respected figure in the Seahawk locker room. As a reward, she was named a co-captain of the squad along with seniors Madison Raque and Jenny DeGraaf. Although she is only a sophomore, Suggs is ready to take on the challenge.

“It was an honor,” Suggs said of being a co-captain. “I was shocked, actually. But it’s an honor for my teammates and the coaches and staff to nominate me, and I’m ready to take on the role and the responsibility … I just got to keep everyone in check and make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to.”

Suggs started in UNCW’s 81-37 exhibition trouncing of in-state DIII opponent Greensboro College on Oct. 29 at Trask Coliseum, notching 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field as one of three Seahawks in double figures.

She grabbed seven rebounds and collected three steals to add to her effort. She said the game was a great start to the season and something to build on for the games ahead. Should the team do just that, there’s no limit to how far they can go.

“I think we can go all the way,” said Suggs. “Obviously, we’re coming from last year to this year, but I honestly feel like we can go all the way – if we put in the time and the effort.”

The Seahawks will get a chance to put what they’ve learned to the test on Nov. 12 when they open the season with a home contest against UNC Pembroke.

Staff Writer Lanre Badmus can be found on Twitter @LonnyBadmon . Any tips or suggestions should be forwarded via email to uncwseahawksports@gmail.com. For video updates from The Seahawk, subscribe to our YouTube channel.