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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Unlikely journey to Tucson

Alan Walsh
Alan Walsh / Arizona Daily Wildcat

More than 6,000 miles from the UA campus is the city of Nouméa, New Caledonia. 

Known more for its bright blue waters and striking rock formations than for producing collegiate basketball talent, the French territory in the South Pacific is the home to Arizona women’s basketball player Soana Lucet.

Lucet transferred to the Arizona program from the College of Southern Idaho and is the only female athlete from New Caledonia to ever play collegiate basketball in the United States.

This accomplishment alone is something that Lucet says she is proud of, but she isn’t stopping there.

“”I have more goals that I want to reach,”” Lucet said.

Despite growing up in a soccer-crazed region, Lucet was never drawn to the sport and instead found her way to the hardwood by playing basketball during free time at school.

“”In high school, when we didn’t have class, people would sometimes play basketball, and I was tall so I thought, ‘I want to play,'”” the junior forward said.

After spending two seasons in Twin Falls, Idaho, Lucet has made an immediate impact for the Wildcats (9-7, 3-3 Pacific 10 Conference), by averaging 13 points and 7.1 rebounds in the paint.

Arizona’s third-leading scorer is coming off a career-high 28 points in a win over Oregon and credits her hard work in practice to her development as a player during games.

“”I really try my best to work my hardest in practice because I really believe that hard work in practice will make it easier in games,”” Lucet said. “”I was kind of frustrated in the beginning, but now I’m actually starting to have fun.””

Lucet’s junior college numbers shed light on the dimension that she adds to a team. Last year she shot 48 percent from the field and knocked down 75.2 percent of her free throws, bringing versatility to a Wildcat team that was in dire need of another post player to complement junior forward Ify Ibekwe.

In addition to helping the Wildcats work towards success in the Pac-10, Lucet was recently recognized for her success in the classroom when she received the C.A.T.S. Student-Athlete of the month award for November-December.

Having to adapt to a new school, Division I basketball and classes can be a burden for any transfer student, but Lucet’s discipline in her studies, along with support from the coaching staff, has allowed her to adjust to her new life in Tucson.

“”We have study halls and tutors who help, but you just have to be willing to put the work in,”” Lucet said.

“”I’m not that smart,”” she added, jokingly.

All of Nouméa is watching their prized basketball player compete on a high level, and one of Lucet’s bigger goals will be to help lead the Wildcats back to the NCAA tournament, beginning with rival Arizona State on Sunday.

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