Maggie Flynn embraces role on Missouri women's basketball team

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 | 7:30 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — If the Missouri women's basketball team were a family, sophomore Maggie Flynn would be the one who is always encouraging her sisters to be better.

Flynn has played only 36 minutes in Missouri's 17 games, but her presence in practice and on the Tigers' bench — and her willingness to accept that role — makes her a valuable member of the team. Her job, as she sees it, is to go to practice and attempt to make her teammates better.

"And myself," she added, almost as an afterthought. "When I'm on the bench, (I'm) just cheering them on, keeping them pumped, being there for them, keeping the energy up."

Flynn is one of the loudest and most boisterous players on the Missouri sideline any time her teammates make a big play.

"Pretty much about every game I'm out of control," Flynn said. "I get loud. I get into it. If there's one point when a ball's loose and the team is diving on it, we're all just on the ground already, we want to be out there getting on the ball."

Flynn's energy on the bench doesn't go unnoticed. Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said she respects and values Flynn's selflessness and her willingness to take on her role on the sideline.

"She brings so much emotion and passion to the court, especially on game days," Pingeton said. "She's usually the first one off the bench and supporting her teammates. She finds a way to get herself to that level she needs to be at to contribute to the team, and that's through her energy and emotion and her passion, and it's very contagious."

Flynn was raised in Troy, a town of about 10,000 people in the northeast part of the state. In a town that small, almost everybody knows each other. For Flynn, that was especially true because of basketball.

"I played with the same girls my whole life from a little age to high school," she said.

Flynn attended Troy-Buchanan, the town's only high school, and knew she wanted to play basketball for Missouri since she was a child at Sacred Heart, a Catholic grade school in Troy.

Missouri coaches first noticed Flynn when she came to a basketball camp in Columbia when she was in high school. When the Tigers' coaches showed an interest, she didn't hesitate.

"The coaches started talking to me, and we developed a relationship, and they were like, 'Hey, do you want to come play basketball here?'" she said. "I was like, 'Uh, yeah, full ride, let's go.'"

While Flynn said moving from a small Missouri town to a city with more than 100,000 people wasn't as difficult as it could have been, she still can get stressed by college life.

When she needs to wind down, she said she will go see a movie — most recently she saw "My Week with Marilyn" with her teammates. If she has enough down time, she'll make a trip to the Lake of the Ozarks to a house her father owns with his law firm partners. Her father, Patrick Flynn, is a lawyer and former judge in Troy, and her mother, Julie Flynn, is a school secretary. Her brother Alex Flynn also attends MU.

Maggie Flynn said her father has never missedone of her college games, even traveling to the Virgin Islands to watch her play. He will be in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday when the Tigers play the Longhorns.

"He's always there for me," Flynn said of her father. "He's my biggest fan, along with my mom, but he's more loud about it."

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