How does one cap off their junior year of high school? Well, in Maggie Doogan’s case, you win a state title and commit to an on-the-rise Division I program.
After winning the PIAA 5A state championship with Cardinal O’Hara, the 6-foot-2 stretch forward committed to the University of Richmond on July 18.
Maggie Doogan averaged over 14 points per game as Cardinal O'Hara won the PIAA 5A state championship last season. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Basketball was always destined to be a part of Doogan’s life. Her mother, Chrissie Doogan, played four years on the La Salle women’s basketball team. She left the program as the school’s second all-time leading scorer and third-highest rebounder, then became an assistant coach for the Explorers.
Her mother’s deep involvement with the game made Maggie Doogan’s participation in the sport inevitable. While the O’Hara senior admits that “there were a couple rough patches,“ she notes that “[basketball] has always been there; I’ve always loved it.”
Doogan was thrust into the competitive world of AAU basketball as a 5th grader, when she began playing for the Comets Basketball grassroots program. She has stayed with the Comets ever since, playing with teammates such as Kaitlyn Flanagan and Gracie O’Neill for the past six years.
“I don’t think any team has as much chemistry as we do. We’ve just been together for so long. We get along really well off the court as well,” Doogan said.
When Doogan transitioned from the AAU circuit to Catholic League basketball at Cardinal O’Hara, she wasn’t the force to be reckoned with that she is now. O’Hara girls’ basketball head coach Chris Genther remembers Doogan as a freshman that “came in tall, thin, not very strong, not real good balance, and not physically minded.”
During her freshman year, Doogan only averaged 3 points, 3 rebounds per game and about an assist and block per game. Fast forward to her junior year, and Doogan upped those averages to 14.5 ppg , roughly 7 rpg and about 2 apg and 2 bpg.
“She became a gym rat with a great work ethic,” Genther said. “What’s cool about it is … she wasn't born into [being] special, she worked her way into [being] special.”
Doogan’s improvement made her a major contributor to Cardinal O’Hara’s title run.
“She has real good low post presence,” Genther said, “and she developed that physicality to bang with people, to go hard at the rim, to get fouled.”
“Her ability to step away out to the 3-point line was just complimentary to her low post game,” he added. “She’s a complete player now.”
Doogan’s ability to operate on both the outside, as well as in the post is a defining feature of her game. Doogan’s adapted a role as a stretch ‘4’ — focusing, she said, on being as versatile as possible and “working on ball handling and being able to face-up and back someone down in the post.”
While Richmond was an early presence in Doogan’s recruitment, she was also in talks with La Salle, Saint Joseph’s, and the University of Pittsburgh and towards the end of the process, Providence showed interest as well. Doogan had the opportunity to visit La Salle, Rider, St. Joe’s, and Pitt. But when she took her tour at Richmond in mid-June, she had a feeling it was the place for her.
“When I visited the campus, it was just a good feeling,” Doogan said. “The campus is beautiful, the coaches are great, the players are great. And, I think they are on the rise too.”
The Spiders, led by second-year coach Aaron Roussell, are coming off of their first winning season in six years, with a 13-9 record. Since leaving Bucknell and joining the Spiders, Roussell has transformed the program, leading Richmond to consecutive Atlantic-10 quarterfinal appearances, and a 160-spot rise in offensive rating.
By the time Doogan joins the team, all of their current forwards will be upperclassmen, giving her plenty of mentors. Doogan will also have a year with A-10 second-team guard Kate Klimkiewicz, who will be a senior during Doogan’s first season at Richmond. During the 2020-2021 season, Klimkiewicz led the Spiders in scoring percentage and rebounds per game. Doogan’s presence in the post and ball handling skills could complement Klimkiewicz’s scoring.
When talking about the Spiders’ style of play, Doogan “likes how they push in transition. They are a fast-paced team.” Richmond scored an average of 14.3 points off turnovers, and Doogan’s rebounding abilities will contribute to the Spiders’ transition offense. So far, the other member of Richmond’s 2022 recruiting class is small forward/shooting guard Torin Rogers from Murphy, North Carolina.
Doogan still has one more year left at Cardinal O’Hara. As one of four seniors, she will provide guidance and leadership for a team seeking back-to-back state championships. Genther has already seen Doogan embrace this added responsibility.
“She has really matured over the past couple of years,” Genther said.” She really understands what it means to be a close team and what a difference that can make.” Genther said that Doogan has been assisting at camps and engaging with the younger members of the team this summer as she looks to get a head start on what they hope will be a successful season.
What is left for Doogan before heading off to Richmond? Obviously, another state championship is the goal, but Doogan has another title left to chase: the Pennsylvania Catholic League title. But before she begins the fight for the conference championship and another state crown, Doogan has some time to enjoy her commitment. The next chapter is just beginning.