Commentary

Fenwick's Liston 'can do it all'

Four-year starter has more than 2,000 career points for Friars

Updated: December 7, 2009, 7:38 PM ET
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

OAK PARK, Ill. -- The way Fenwick senior Tricia Liston can score and how she can dominate a game in multiple ways reminds Friars coach Dave Power of how current Duke guard Jon Scheyer used to rule the boys' side of Illinois high school basketball not too long ago.

"She's kind of in that mold," Power said. "It's ironic she's going to Duke as well. She's kind of explosive like he was."

Just like Scheyer, Liston has been one of the state's premier players ever since she was a freshman. Liston began her career as a starter on a Fenwick state championship team in 2007, and each season has taken her game to another level.

[+] EnlargeTricia Liston
Scott Powers/ESPNChicago.comFenwick's Tricia Liston scored a career-high 41 points to against Wheeling in the Niles North Thanksgiving Tournament championship.

This season, she's been nearly unstoppable. Liston, a 6-foot guard, has averaged close to 30 points a game and contributed plenty in every other facet to make Fenwick one of the state's top teams.

As she showed against Loyola last week, she doesn't even need major minutes to be a factor. She scored a game-high 24 points, pulled down six rebounds, dished out three assists and had three steals in just a little over two quarters of action in the blowout over the Ramblers. Two nights later, she had 25 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals in a 20-point win over Bishop McNamara.

"She's a leader," Power said. "She's leading the team. [Against Loyola], she was unselfish. She could have had 40 [points]. She had some nice dish-offs. I'm really impressed with Tricia's maturity. Now as a senior, she's trying to put this group on her back. She's grown up a lot."

Liston has taken a step forward in a number of areas this season, especially her defense and ability to run the floor, but it's still her scoring that makes her one of the nation's top guards. Even in that, though, she's improved.

In her season-opening performance against Oak Park, she set a new career-high with 39 points. A week later, she broke that mark as she put up 41 points to defeat Wheeling for the Niles North Thanksgiving Tournament championship.

"She can do it all," Power said. "She can take you off the dribble, pop the three, post you up. She's an amazing offensive scoring machine. She's just that good."

ESPN HoopGurlz national recruiting coordinator Mark Lewis echoed the praise over Liston's game. Liston reminds him a lot of WNBA star Katie Smith.

"Tricia Liston is one of the rare commodities in recruiting, a true 'power' guard," Lewis said. "She has a solid build, good size, but still has an explosiveness to her game. She's a versatile scorer who can create off the dribble but has impressive range and touch on her shot as well. She's physical and aggressive at both ends of the floor and isn't hesitant to mix it up with the bigs."

Liston's focus this season isn't on anything individually. She's already accomplished plenty there -- she went over 2,000 career points earlier this season. Her goal is simply to return Fenwick to the state tournament.

To help ensure that, she took care of her collegiate decision before the season began. She chose Duke over DePaul and Wisconsin, but it wasn't easy.

"It was really hard," Liston said. "It was probably one of the most stressful things I've had to deal with thus far in my life. Since I was a kid, I always thought it would be cool to play for one of those teams -- Duke, UConn, Tennessee. As soon as Duke called, it sparked an interest."

And just as the Duke men's basketball program graduates Scheyer, one of the most storied players in Illinois high school basketball history, after this season, the Blue Devils' women's program will be saying hello to Liston, one of the state's great girls' players.

Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at preps@espnchicago.com.

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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