Belmont’s women’s basketball team is preparing to go to the NCAA Tournament for the 4th consecutive year. And this is the last tournament for their scoring powerhouse, Darby Maggard. The senior guard has become a Belmont legend for scoring nearly 2,000 points, and she's achieved these record-breaking numbers despite her size.
Darby Maggard is currently the 5th all-time NCAA Division I three-point-shooter and one of the smallest players out on the court. The 5’3 guard’s height is generously padded on statistic sheets to 5’5. Her height even earned her the nickname, Peanut.
Maggard started playing in middle school through a youth league. She grew an interest from watching her mom coach high school basketball as a child.
Maggard said her mom knew she wanted to play ball at the college level and she helped her overcome her biggest obstacle, her height.
“She kind of instilled that, you’ve gotta have goals, you’ve gotta have dreams, you’ve gotta work for it,” Maggard said.
“Nothing is going to be given to you, it’s not going to be handed to you, especially being little, you’re going to have to learn how to move around what the world says you aren’t going to be able to do.”
Maggard’s goal during high school was to play college basketball. Her determination led her to become what she calls a “gym rat,” spending hours working out.
Now at Belmont, she is the first one at practice and the last to leave, focusing on her three-point shots. The physical and mental work has helped her perfect the gift of chucking it from the cheap seats. Maggard’s knocked down over 400 three-point shots in her Belmont career.
Head Coach Bart Brooks has led the Lady Bruins for the past two years and says Maggard is not someone to underestimate.
“You put a limit on Darby, and she’s gong to shatter it,” Brooks says.
“She’s proven a lot of people wrong. I think every time she works out, she probably has an inner monologue going of people telling her she’s too small. I think that’s fueled her and made her as competitive or as tough as she is.”
The Lady Bruins are the Ohio Valley Champions for the 4th year in a row. Much of their success has come from Darby’s leadership and commitment on and off the court. Brooks says there’s nothing small about Darby’s game or heart. She leads by example, providing inspiration for her teammates.
“Everyone that has come through this program sees her example and how hard she works to be as good as she is,” Brooks said.
“It’s not just something she turns on when the lights are on and people are in the stands watching. It’s something she works really hard at.”
“She set the tone and example of professionalism, her approach everyday. You know what you’re going to get from her and she’s going to give you everything she’s got.”
Now, as Maggard prepares to leave Belmont’s court, she’s looking ahead to her next challenge.
“How every long my body lets me play, that’s how long I play. After my body shuts down, I want to coach college basketball.” Maggard explains.
She says if the right opportunity presents itself, she would love to play overseas. Belmont’s Women’s Basketball program has a history of placing their players overseas in the past.
The Lady Bruins play their first round of the NCAA tournament on March 22. They will face off against South Carolina for a chance to move up in the tournament. Maggard hopes to add a few more points to her record before the final buzzer.
“My goal was to leave this place better than I found it and I’m so thankful for everything we were able to do while I was here.”