The Long Beach State women’s basketball season is currently on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that doesn’t mean fans shouldn’t be excited for the upcoming season.
The arrival of freshman superstar guard Savannah Tucker is giving fans of the Beach something to look forward to when the season resumes.
“The biggest thing about committing [to Long Beach] was finding a second home,” Tucker said. “The girls were super sweet and the biggest part [that stood out] was the coaching staff.”
Basketball has long been in the blood of the Tucker family. Along with Tucker, her father and sister both played in high school, with her sister earning a scholarship to play at California State University, Monterey Bay.
“Ever since I was young I’ve been a fan of basketball, wanting to play Division I and just getting to where I am today,” Tucker said.
A graduate of Clovis North High School in Fresno, California, Tucker scored more than 2,351 points in her time as a Bronco. Tucker is also Clovis Unified School District’s all-time scoring leader for both boys and girls basketball.
Holding the school record for most points scored in a single game with 38, Tucker helped lead the Broncos to a Tri-Rivers League championship her junior year. That same year, she set the school’s scoring average record by averaging 20.1 points per game.
“High school basketball was probably one of my best experiences,” Tucker said. “We as a program started from the bottom and as a team together, we made it very far and played great competition.”
A big Boston Celtics fan, Tucker grew up idolizing former Celtic Kevin Garnett. Garnett connected with Tucker and even gave her words of encouragement when she and Clovis North made the California Interscholastic Federation Central Section Open Division championship.
“I’ve always admired his style of game and his intensity and everything,” Tucker said. “My dad is from Boston, so we’re Boston Celtics fans. I grew up watching the Celtics 24/7.”
Despite having not seen Tucker in practice yet, the Beach head coach Jeff Cammon said he is excited to see her in action.
“Savannah has a lot of potential. She scored the ball at a high level in high school,” Cammon said. “She’s used to the challenge, she’s used to the pressure and dealing with adversity. I think young ladies who are able to deal with and respond to adversity the best are the ones to be successful.”
Cammon said that in addition to having great offensive potential, Tucker can play stout defense, which the Beach prides itself in.
“What’s good for Savannah is that she’s coming into a group with experience in a sense where our defense has been one of the top in the conference, especially the past year, even though it’s not where we want it to be,” Cammon said.
Senior guard Justina King spoke about how Tucker is a competitive person on the court, but is a very easy-going person off the court.
“She’s so competitive, and I can see that. When we did open runs together, runs with our team, she fit in well,” King said. “She just fit in really well and we felt the chemistry between us and the teammates. We’re just really excited for what she’s going to bring.”
Whenever the Beach is able to hit the court again, Tucker said she is only focused on one thing, winning.
Tucker said she is also willing to do whatever she can to help the Beach have a big year this coming season.
“I want to win. I honestly want to win the conference, and I think we’re capable of doing that and to get to the [National Collegiate Athletic Association] Tournament and win a few games there,” Tucker said. “I want to get to the NCAA Tournament and beat teams who other people think we’re not supposed to beat.”