She’s got an eye-catching smile and a bubbly personality.

So why in the world would Sam Buckner’s coach compare the junior forward to NBA bad boy Dennis Rodman?

“She’s just a monster on the boards,” Wilson girls basketball coach Brian Baker said. “She’s got a nose for the ball like I’ve never seen in a female.”

Buckner, who admitted she had never even heard of Rodman before Baker brought up the name, said she has embraced her role on the team.

“I’ve realized that scoring is not the only thing in basketball,” she said. “Now, I feel like the more I rebound, the team off the team is. I love being aggressive on the boards.”

And Baker certainly can’t complain with Buckner pulling down more than 11 rebounds a night.

“She’s accepted her role and ran with it,” the first-year coach said. “Almost any time a shot goes up, we know Sam is going to get it if it doesn’t go in. We call her Gumby because she can seemingly stretch all over to get a rebound.”

Not a bad endorsement for someone that stands only 5-foot-8.

“People look at me and think ‘she’s no matchup down low, I can keep her off the glass,’” Buckner said. “That pushes me even harder.”

Buckner and her teammates are also motivated by that elusive sectional title. Wilson fell just short a year ago, losing to Falconer in the Class B-2 semifinals. Today, the second-seeded Lakewomen get another crack at it when they tip with No. 3 Allegany-Limestone.

“They don’t have a lot of big girls, so we need to get Sam and Jess (Curry) on the boards and control the paint,” Baker said.

“The plan for me is to run the baseline, grab some rebounds and look to get it to Jess every time,” Buckner added.

Trending Video

Recommended for you