Ten years ago Maggie McCloskey went to Indianapolis with her family to watch the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four. While there, the then sixth-grader from Riverside watched a three-point shooting contest that was part of the festivities. She never imagined that a decade later she would be heading back to Indianapolis to take part in that very contest herself.
But on Thursday evening McCloskey, a senior at Loyola University, will compete in the 22nd annual State Farm Slam Dunk and Three-Point Championship at the NCAA men’s Final Four. Not surprisingly, the 5-foot 5-inch Loyola University senior will be competing in the three-point shooting contest, not the dunk contest.
“We went as a family to Indianapolis for a Final Four and watched this, and it’s kind of crazy to think I’ll be in it,” said McCloskey, a 2006 Riverside-Brookfield High School graduate and the daughter of RB boys basketball coach Tom McCloskey.
She was selected for the competition because she is one of the best three-point shooters in the nation. Eight women and eight men, all seniors, will each shoot 25 three pointers. Once the women’s and men’s champions are determined the two winners will face off in a battle-of-the-sexes shoot off.
The competition, along with the slam dunk contest, will be televised on ESPN on Thursday at 8 p.m.
At Loyola, McCloskey set a NCAA Division I record by hitting at least one three-pointer in 69 straight games, a streak that began in her freshman year and ended in her junior year. She made 325 three-pointers in her career, which ranks her 11th on the all-time NCAA list and is both a Loyola and Horizon League record.
McCloskey finished her Loyola career ranking seventh in career points and eighth in career assists.
This season McCloskey was Loyola’s second leading scorer, averaging 10.6 points per game. She made 42.6 percent (84-of-197) of her three-point shots. She didn’t miss a free throw all season, sinking all 18 of her free-throw attempts. She helped lead Loyola to a record of 15 wins and 15 losses, its best record in eight years.
McCloskey holds numerous RB girls basketball records, including career points and career assists. She will graduate this year with a degree in psychology and would like to play basketball professionally overseas if she can before following in the footsteps of her father and brother by pursuing a coaching career.