The Warrior senior, who will play at Washington University in St. Louis next year, has scored at or near 20 points in many of her recent games to pace the team but it is her leadership involving other players that has Coach Mike Muldrow happy.
“The best thing she did tonight was pass the ball well,” Muldrow said of her performance in Deerfield’s 50-48 loss to Lake Forest Tuesday at the Blue Devil Holiday Classic at Warren Township High School in Gurnee.
“When I see my shot but a teammate's open for a better one I want to get the ball to them,” Yucknut said. “It gets them more involved in the game (on offense and defense).”
In the first quarter against Lake Forest, Yucknut found Ginn open three times for scores helping the Warriors build a 16-4 opening period lead. After Deerfield fell behind at the intermission, Yucknut found Glass open for a pair of three pointers and a layup to get the team back in front.
“Once Kerry (Glass) and Ginn started making a lot of points I wanted to get them the ball,” Yucknut said. “Once you see them having a good game it helps everyone else step up. It’s part of being a leader.”
Yucknut’s passing and deflections on defense batting the ball to teammates are some of the skills that have Muldrow happy with the development of her leadership traits. “She knows how to fit into the game plan,” he said. “She is learning to be a leader for the team.”
Though not a point guard — Amanda Kellow ably fits that role getting an early pass to Yucknut on most possessions — Yucknut both looks for a shot for herself and tries to see who is open for a better one.
When the Warriors do not have the ball, Yucknut attempts to get her teammates involved in the defense as well. When she steals the ball or deflects a pass like she did against Lake Forest, she creates opportunities for the rest of the team.
“When you get steals and blocks it brings everyone into the defense,” Yucknut said. “It’s how you get your teammates more involved.”
Yucknut also knows basketball is a game of streaks as demonstrated Tuesday. The Warriors jumped out to a 16-4 first quarter lead before giving up 10 unanswered points to the Scouts in the first three minutes of the second period.
“We have a lot of streaks but we give up runs,” Yucknut said. “We have to limit their (the opponent’s) streaks. If we get there it will be hard to lose games.”
Yucknut will spend the rest of the season trying to make herself and her teammates better. Then she will be a Washington Bear. “I’m so excited,” she said about her future. “I had a visit there and a summer camp.” She also likes the coach and players she has met in St. Louis.