Just two full seasons into her University of Colorado career, junior guard Lauren Huggins already ranks 15th all-time for the women's basketball team in made 3-pointers.
After official practices began Monday, Huggins will finally have an opportunity to pad her career totals when the Buffs open the 2015-16 campaign on Nov. 14 at home against Loyola Marymount. Here's a conversation with the native of Littleton.
Q: As a 3-point shooter, can you tell early in games if you've got it or not?
Huggins: Definitely through warmups. As a shooter you have a shooter's mentality. You think every game you're going to go 100 percent. Warmups definitely determine it.
Q: Does a game spring to mind where maybe you weren't feeling it in warmups, but then went out and rained them in?
Huggins: CSU last year, a double-overtime win. (Huggins went 4 for 7 from 3-point range.) Rivalry games always get me nervous and I was the only Colorado native. I just got roped back in by my teammates after warmups and went out there and hit good shots.
Q: You missed most of your true freshman season (2012-13) due to a stress fracture. What was the toughest part of sitting out?
Huggins: You always come in hoping to make a big impact your freshman year, but you also have to earn that. Being sidelined, it definitely took my confidence away. But then, knowing my role and helping out from the bench ... when I got back to practice again and helping my teammates prepare games, it was a lot better than just cheering them on.
Q: What's the best part of playing basketball in your home state?
Huggins: I grew up watching Colorado basketball. I know what it means to be a Colorado Buffalo. I watched coach (Linda) Lappe play and saw coach Ceal Barry coaching. I know what it means and I'm proud to represent my home state. It's also nice to get a home-cooked meal.
Q: Any pregame superstitions or rituals?
Huggins: I wouldn't say there are superstitions. But I am kind of the DJ in the locker room. I plug my phone in and get everyone pumped. Get myself ready to go and maybe have a pregame dance party in there.
Q: What do you play? And does it change game to game?
Huggins: There's a little bit of variance. Mostly a lot of rap, R&B, hip hop. Stuff that has a nice beat to get everyone pumped up and ready to go.
Q: What's your favorite Pac-12 road trip?
Huggins: We're lucky enough to be able to play in the Pac-12 and experience all different types. But I would say going to the California schools is always cool. You get to see the beach and the sun. But it's also nice when they get to come here in the snow and they're not ready for it.
Q: Do you have a basketball idol?
Huggins: My dad inspired me a lot, but in terms of basketball I'd say Kobe Bryant. He's a great shooter, great player, and he has that killer mentality. I wear No. 24 because of that. I look up to him a lot as a basketball player.
Q: Do you have a favorite sports movie?
Huggins: Remember the Titans. It's a football movie, but it gets the point across. We're really big here on family, and especially in that movie, them finally realizing what it meant to be a family and a team and coming together through adversity. We embody a lot of that here. But even as a younger kid, I just loved that movie. Great soundtrack. Give it a listen.