Lubcke brings track record of success to women’s basketball

Sam Lubcke, junior, boxes out in anticipation of snatching a rebound Tuesday night at the UCCU center Nov. 29.

Murray Bridge, Australia is situated 47 miles southeast of South Australia’s capital city of Adelaide. An agricultural community of just under 20,000 people that helped shape the hard-working approach Sam Lubcke takes to the hardwood for the UVU women’s basketball team.

A 6-1 center for the Wolverines, Lubcke began her basketball career at the age of four. Later on, after winning nine state championships with the Murray Bridge Bullets and the Eastern Mavericks, she was awarded the Burt Bargeous Medal in 2013, given to the best basketball player in South Australia.

Lubcke was a six-time member of the state national team. Her success on the court down under paid dividends when she began receiving interest from American college coaches looking to recruit her. Initially Buffalo University seemed like a good fit until it was discovered that she would have to redshirt a season for academic reasons. Not wanting to go far from home without playing for a year, she was put in contact with coaches from the College of Southern Idaho, a junior college ranked seventh in the nation at the time, and committed soon after—thus taking the first step in her dream of playing in the United States.

“It was my dream to come here,” Lubcke said. “It has always been my dream since I started playing basketball and started making state teams and realized I’m actually pretty good at this. I decided to take the leap of faith and go to CSI with the end goal being to transfer to a Division l school.”

The adjustment to being a student-athlete was not seamless for Lubcke who found it strange that school and basketball were so closely intertwined. Going from class to practice to weight training was unusual after growing up where basketball and schooling were completely separate from each other. Being in a new country was a transition for the Aussie as well.

“Pretty much everything is different,” Lubcke said. “We drive on the other side of the road. We eat different food. Even the language is a little different with the slang. It was kind of hard for me to understand them and them to understand me.”

American customs aside, Lubcke settled into her new home well earning AllAmerican honors both her freshman and sophomore years in Twin Falls. While watching a CSI game, UVU assistant coach Adam Wardenburg took notice of Lubcke and spoke to her after the game.  From this initial meeting was forged a relationship that eventually led to an official visit and a commitment to UVU. Wardenburg noted there were several things about her game that impressed him.

“One was how hard she played,” said Wardenburg. “She never takes a play off and everything is 100 percent with her. The way she finishes around the basket. She’s able to finish through contact and get to the free-throw line.”

Lubcke recognizes in her style of play that, “Australians are very tough and physical so I think my physicality is something I’ve taken from home and used here,” she said

Now well into her junior campaign, Lubcke has settled into her role down on the low block registering three double-doubles and averaging 11.3 points per game. She also averaged 34 minutes played per game in the month of December, proving to be a workhorse for a team hobbled by injuries.

Regardless of the score, Lubcke keeps the pedal to the metal on the court.  This was evident in a recent win over Dixie State where a late push from the Trailblazers made the final score closer than it should have been. This upset Lubcke who felt the team did not finish strong. Such leadership qualities are welcome on a young and inexperienced UVU squad that will return 13 players next season.

Her goal is to end her UVU career as the all-time leading rebounder in school history. It’s a lofty ambition, but doesn’t sound unreasonable given what Lubcke has accomplished at every juncture of her young career.

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