Making history: Mitchell's Miller closes in on SDSU scoring milestones
Macy Miller has never spent too much time looking at the record books. But her senior season is shaping up as a historic one for Miller and the South Dakota State University women's basketball team. A former Mitchell standout, Miller is closing i...
Macy Miller has never spent too much time looking at the record books.
But her senior season is shaping up as a historic one for Miller and the South Dakota State University women's basketball team.
A former Mitchell standout, Miller is closing in on setting the Jackrabbits' career scoring record, surpassing 2,000 points and has a chance to break the Summit League's all-time mark for points in a career.
The 6-foot guard is the reigning Summit League player of the year and was tabbed as the league's preseason pick to do it again. Her SDSU squad is picked as the favorite in the conference, and a candidate to do damage in March once more.
Even the humble and modest Miller admitted it would be pretty cool to put her name atop SDSU's history all-time.
"I've looked at them and we've talked about them a little bit," she said. "It's not something that I feel I have to do this year. I've been blessed to have this opportunity at South Dakota State and I've been blessed to even have a chance to reach them. It would be a really cool thing to get, but it's not something I'm thinking too much about or will force myself to think about every game."
Miller, who has scored 1,717 points in her SDSU career, is about to rewrite the record books for the Jackrabbits. She needs 171 points to break the women's basketball school record, and 283 points for 2,000 for her career in yellow and blue. (Only two SDSU men's players have ever reached 2,000 points: Nate Wolters and the currently active Mike Daum.)
Miller can also become the Summit League's all-time leading scorer with 561 points, breaking the record set by Oral Roberts' Kevi Luper in 2012 with 2,277 points. The SDSU women's basketball season begins Nov. 6 with a road game at Marquette.
Her coach, Aaron Johnston, said Miller's run at the records this season won't change the program, but her impact on the team has been important.
"She's going to think about them a bit more, mainly because she's going to get asked about them a lot, probably to the point where it's going to drive her nuts," Johnston joked. "To me, they're kind of secondary and she would say the same thing. She's going to have a great season."
Coupled with her school record 1,921 points, Miller has scored more than 3,600 points between her Kernel and Jackrabbit careers. But Miller said her love for the game has only sustained.
She credits the game being "in her blood line," of course. Miller's father, Alan, scored more than 2,900 points at Dakota Wesleyan University, while Miller's brothers Jordan and Jade each played college basketball. Macy's cousin is Mike Miller, South Dakota's most famous basketball star, who played 17 years in the NBA.
"I'd say that's what's stuck with me, just a passion for the game and just how much I've enjoyed it through my younger years and high school and even college," she said. "Some people say don't do something that you don't love doing, I'd like to keep pursuing it after college, that's how much I like it."
Aside from the personal achievements, Miller made it clear she believes her Jackrabbits have more to accomplish. SDSU has won at least 23 games in each of her first four seasons but an overtime loss in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Villanova to end last season left a sour taste.
"It's really cool for our team to be up there and to be recognized in the No. 1 spot," Miller said of being the preseason favorite to win the Summit. "But the last few years, we've been in that No. 1 spot and we haven't performed like we've wanted to. This year, we want to live up to that and we have to keep pushing to be better."
As a senior, Miller said she's gotten much better at being a leader, and stepping out of her comfort zone to do so.
"It's hard when you want to be a quiet player, but from freshman year to now, I've taken big steps and I've been working hard to compliment teammates and even after practice and being around to say 'Hey, you need anything?' Just looking out for them and you just want to do what you can to help them. It's my senior year and people are looking up to you," she said.
Johnston credited Miller for her "really remarkable" ability to bounce back from a season-ending knee injury nine games in December 2016, noting Miller wasn't 100 percent healthy early in the 2017-18 campaign. He said he thinks Jackrabbit fans will notice the difference this year, where "she's a lot quicker and a lot more mobile." Miller played all 33 games and has started every game she's played in her career, 109 in all.
"She probably didn't have that confidence and strength until midway through the season and she really gutted it out for the first few months there," he said.
Johnston said he believes Miller has gotten more comfortable with an off-ball role in the Jacks' offense and become a much better passer. Miller said she's worked to improve her defense, which Johnston called "underrated."
"We can always be better, like AJ preaches," she said. "We know we're going to have ups and downs in games and you have to keep a level head. Things don't come easy and we know we're going to have a target on our backs and we just have to bring it every game and play hard."