Going With the Flow: Lucy Olsen Making Her Mark


Olivia Pasquale/Villanovan Photography

Olsen was named to the Big East All-Rookie Team last year.

Jacob Artz, Staff Writer

Sometimes, the best results happen to people that are not focused on the results but rather the process to reach the desired outcome.

That is the case with sophomore Lucy Olsen’s basketball journey.

Olsen always loved the game of basketball. That love was built through competition with her older sister Olivia, whom she watched play when she was younger, and younger sister, Lyla. The middle Olsen’s path became defined quickly, even if she was not looking for the end goal at the time.

“I would go to her [Olivia’s] games and be on the sidelines dribbling and stuff, and I would just want to play, so I would practice with her team,” Olsen said.

“I never really thought like, ‘oh I want to play in college,’” Olsen added. “It didn’t really matter where I was playing as long as I was playing.”

Olsen started playing the game merely by shooting in the driveway for fun, and it progressed more once she started to pursue the game more seriously. 

In addition to shooting around in the driveway to become better, Olsen is the ultimate competitor, hating losing more than she enjoys winning.

“Whenever I am in the gym playing, like if I go play pick-up somewhere, I’ll keep playing until I win the last game,” she said.

Olsen did not think about playing college basketball until she was in ninth or tenth grade when she switched AAU teams. She was so focused on her love for the game and improving that she hadn’t thought about the recruiting process, but she took that next step to her basketball progression in stride. 

Olsen is no stranger to the Villanova area. She went to Spring-Ford High School in Royersford, which is about a 40-minute drive from campus. 

“I love being close to home, Olsen said. “My family, friends from high school, the community from high school, can come watch me play.” 

Olsen starred for the 6A school, garnering the all-time leading scoring mark for the school with 1,699 points. She was awarded 2021 Miss Pennsylvania Basketball and two-time first team All-State honors.

But she is not just a basketball player. She played soccer until eighth grade and was a tennis player in high school. Not only did she play tennis, she was a PIAA Fall 2020 state champion in doubles. 

Her mom played tennis and her coach pushed her to be a multi-sport athlete. Tennis stressed the same intangibles needed in basketball, athleticism and competitiveness. Tennis also gave her a mental break from basketball that she could be fresh for the season.

Olsen did not have a go-to shot, but she pointed out how she used her ability in close range shots.

“I would try to get everything at the net, and try to put it away,” Olsen said.

Being a prominent figure on the Spring-Ford team prepared her for Villanova in certain aspects.

“I think just having the ball in my hands so much in high school made me comfortable when I came here,” Olsen said.

She was not a huge Villanova basketball fan, but as the recruiting process continued, she knew that Villanova was the place to be.

Olsen had to take on a different role when she arrived on campus because she is no longer the team’s top option. That distinction applies to senior Maddy Siegrist, who Olsen called “crazy good.”

The 5-foot-9 guard is still figuring out how to best implement her game to improve both her own as well as Siegrist’s.

“I think I could’ve been more aggressive (last year) to help out Maddy because they just double teamed her, and I kinda just let them double team her without making the other teams pay for trying to take Maddy away,” Olsen said.

As far as the strengths of her game are concerned, she did not mention anything specific but harped on the work she puts in outside of practice.

“I think just hard working is my main strength,” Olsen said. “I just want to be better.”

This hard work includes much work outside of practice, including dribbling, shooting and working on jumpers.

There is a specific area she wants to improve upon as well.

“Just controlling the pace of the game (as the) point guard and being a coach on the floor, connected with Coach (Denise) Dillon,” Olsen said.

The biggest challenge for Olsen with her integration into the Villanova basketball culture and Big East play was becoming more accustomed to playing without the basketball. Also, she had to think through much of the offense, but this year will be different for Olsen.

“I’m really excited for this year, just seeing how the less thinking I think, I play the better,” she said.

Olsen’s defense is a strong point in her game, as she is constantly tasked with defending the opponent’s star player. For Olsen, the defense is improved through practice, testing her skills against the solid players Villanova has on the roster.

Olsen has already amassed a solid resume for her career at Villanova. She was named to the Big East All-Rookie team. She started all 33 games and averaged 7.0 points per game and 2.7 rebounds per game. One of her most impressive games came against UConn, where she tallied 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

When asked about the definition of success for the team, Olsen was fairly pointed with her answer.

“I think winning a Big East Championship,” Olsen said. “That’s our main goal, and then, making it further in March Madness than we did last year.”

Last season, the Wildcats made it to the Big East Tournament Championship game and advanced to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament.

Individually, Olsen is focused on improving her defense as well as helping her teammates with more assertiveness.

“I think one goal is Defensive Player of the Year,” Olsen said. “I want to step up my defense a lot more, and then, I think I said it earlier, just being more aggressive making it easier for Maddy and the rest of the team to score.”

From the start of her basketball career, the mindset is always the same: Stick to the process.