Ex-Prospector Heading North

Looney Transfers from WNMU to Canadian University

By Daniel Dullum

After three seasons at Western New Mexico, Megan Looney was looking for a new challenge, both athletically and academically.

She found it, north of the 49th Parallel.

Looney, a former Apache Junction High athlete, has transferred to Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, to complete her collegiate women’s basketball career in the 2019-20 season.

A 6-foot forward, Looney played at NCAA Division II Western New Mexico the past three seasons, where she led the Mustangs in rebounding.

“My grandparents have a second home out there, and I really like the area,” Looney said. “Everyone out there is really nice. I’ve been in contact with the coach and he had me come out for a visit in September. I got to meet the team and watched them play a couple of games and scrimmage with them, and toured the campus. I signed when I was there as well.”

Looney said that Lakehead also had what she was looking for academically as well. She will have two years of eligibility, starting in 2019, but has to sit out the next season due to transfer rules.

“Here (USA) you only have four years of eligibility, but (in Canada) you have five,” Looney explained. “In general, going there I’m going to be older because I was 17 when I started playing in college. I’ll be one of the leaders there at 21 years old.

“For now, I’m using that year to train, stay in shape, get stronger and develop my basketball skills. And I’ll be able to focus on my education and graduate.”

Looney conceded that the move to Canada would be challenging, but said, “It’s going to be different. But I’ll have time with my family before I leave. I like that. It also gives me a chance to improve myself as a player.

“It’s still a big move, but I’m familiar with the area and I’m sure I’ll adjust really well.”

In her junior year at WNMU, Looney averaged 4.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in 11 games, while shooting a team-best .548 from the field. As a sophomore, she led WNMU in double-doubles, while averaging 6.0 points and 6.8 rebounds with 16 blocks and 17 steals in 26 games.

Jon Kreiner, Lakeland coach, said, “I am very happy and excited that Megan has decided to join the Thunderwolves family. Megan is a very experienced and knowledgeable forward that will instantly provide us with toughness, interior defense, rebounding and she has the ability to hit the outside shot.

“Megan is a very intelligent student-athlete who loves the game and will fit in very nicely with our team.”

Looney will be graduating from Western New Mexico University (WNMU) with a bachelor’s in sociology with a double minor in pre-law and psychology, carrying an overall 3.8 GPA. She will be taking a master’s in social justice at Lakehead over the next two seasons.

On her decision to attend Lakehead, Looney said, “I chose Lakehead because it presented me the opportunity to further my education, and continue to improve my athletic abilities. The coaching staff at Lakehead has impeccable knowledge of the game, which is backed by their stellar record and the talented women they have recruited.

“Along with Coach Kreiner’s knowledge of the game, I was very impressed with how long he has been with this program. Having that kind of stability and dedication is exactly what I need in a coach. I cannot begin to express how blessed I am to have this opportunity. I am beyond excited to have a fresh start at LU, and begin playing with my amazing teammates.”

As a senior with the Lady Prospectors in 2014-15, Looney averaged 23.3 points per game. Previously, she played on state Division I championship teams at Phoenix St. Mary’s as a freshman and sophomore before transferring to AJHS in her junior year.

“It was tough to leave St. Mary’s at first, but I got a chance to start over.  I’m glad that I came to AJ. It was pretty good,” Looney said. “

Megan would also like to acknowledge her family as a major factor in her decision. Her mother Marie, brothers Cameron and Bryson as well as her grandparents Ben and Geraldine Looney, all played a key role in her decision to commit to Lakehead University.

“My mom’s really excited, my brothers and my grandparents are all a big part of me going there. They’ve been really supportive the whole time,” Looney said.  “They really helped out a lot.

Looney also noted that leaving New Mexico for the Great White North is not a problem.

“Not really. I’m kind of ready to leave and move on.”

Asked if she has learned to end all of her sentences with “eh” yet, Looney laughed, saying, “That’s the first thing everyone says when I tell them I’m going there – ‘are you going to be saying that a lot?’

“Not yet, but I’m sure I’ll pick that up!”

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