The “Four to Flourish” series is back and better than ever for this summer. For those that were not with us last year or need a little refresher, the series is intended to provide outlooks on four different players across a variety of sports at Arizona State and why they could take a step forward and be an important part of their team’s success in 2022-23.
To get us started will be women’s basketball forward Maggie Besselink. Besselink will be entering her junior year for the Sun Devils under newly appointed head coach Natasha Adair.
The 6-2 forward played in just 12 of her team’s 26 games during the 2021-22 season, as injuries and the constant “day-to-day” status kept her in and out of the lineup. She also missed four games her freshman year because of injury.
That is why there is more than enough room for optimism. Besselink has started 21 games during her career and for good reason. She is a tenacious rebounder, is always making hustle plays (like taking charges), and is a good defender.
Streak snapped, @SunDevilWBB takes the OT Territorial Cup upset!— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) February 28, 2021
Taya Hanson notched five triples and 19 points & Maggie Besselink had a career-high 13 rebounds as the Sun Devils upset No. 9 Arizona. pic.twitter.com/71jBXLMIjx
What Besselink needs to improve on is her offensive efficiency and free throw percentage.
The Kingston, Ontario native has shot 64 percent from the charity stripe over her career. As she is capable of playing inside-out, most of her work was done on the offensive glass. Last year, nearly 30 percent of her shots were after an offensive rebound (via synergy sports).
With physical play in the paint and aggressiveness on the boards, players will be sent to the free throw line a lot of times. Seeing her convert those at around a 75 percent clip would ideally give her an extra couple points in the box score.
To go back to her shot selection, let me say that Coach Adair’s Delaware team two years ago led the nation in offensive rebounds per game (20.3) so I am sure she will not discourage that aspect of Besselink’s game, nor would most coaches.
Coming out of high school, ESPN classified Besselink as a “hybrid-four that drains jumpers to the arc.” She has only attempted 20 three pointers during her career, but is still averaging 40.1 percent from two point range.
Starting strong with a 3 from Maggie Besselink pic.twitter.com/zhjQcvrl5D— Sun Devil WBB (@SunDevilWBB) February 21, 2021
She is already comfortable finishing with both hands around the rim, but becoming more efficient from midrange and in the paint will only open up opportunities for others. She is no stranger to finding open teammates.
Sure, it may seem obvious to say getting better on offense will be a benefit, but Besselink has a lot of intangibles already, like the knack for constantly being on the floor for loose balls and charges. Her motor when she is on the floor is one that can only bring energy to a team when she’s on the floor.
There have been games where she flashes excellence, like against Minnesota in 2021 when she snatched 15 boards. Her first career double-double against USC her freshman year also was an eye-catching performance that showcased her potential in Tempe.
Look for a healthy Besselink to make a leap in her junior campaign, especially with some more help coming in the frontcourt.