Junior Quinci Mann has been a constant in the starting lineup since stepping on the court to represent the Lehigh women’s basketball team her freshman year.
The Oakland, California, native has started all 83 games she has played as a Mountain Hawk and has shown steady progress each year, stepping up as Lehigh’s primary scorer this season.
Lehigh has former Mountain Hawk, Kelly Peterson, ’13, to thank for putting the small school in Bethlehem on Mann’s radar in high school. The two played for the same Amateur Athletic Union program in California, and the combination of Lehigh’s athletics and academics was attractive to Mann.
As a freshman, Mann averaged 8.0 points and 23.2 minutes per game. During her sophomore year, she saw her production increase to 13.3 points to earn second team All-Patriot League honors. This season, she’s averaging a career-high 15.6 points while playing 29.2 minutes per game.
“I’m the type of player that gets better with time,” Mann said. “Regardless of the amount of success, I’m always pushing myself to be better than I was a year ago and even better than two years ago.”
During Wednesday night’s matchup against Bucknell, Mann notched her 1,000th career point.
Mann said the improvement and success she has had throughout her career is in large part because of her preparation. Throughout her summers back in Oakland, Mann works with the best skill developers and strength/conditioning professionals around.
She said she spends countless hours perfecting her shot as well as different aspects of her game.
“What sets my work ethic apart from anyone else’s is the time commitment and sheer hours I put into my game,” Mann said.
Mann acknowledges that athletes have their ups and downs. After struggling in three straight games scoring six, three and nine points respectively, she remained confident in her game and had a career-high 26 points in an 86-69 win against Loyola University on Feb. 1.
“I hit a pretty bad shooting slump for a couple of games and my confidence could’ve easily plummeted,” Mann said. “I love competing, and having those monster games when you least expect them is probably the most rewarding and exhilarating feeling there is. That’s why we play the game.”
To keep her in the right mindset, Mann likes to write simple mantras on her hand like “be aggressive” or “rebound.” Some athletes have pregame rituals to help them play well like listening to certain music in the locker room, but for Mann, her trust lies simply in her preparation.
Coming off of a year where Lehigh graduated five seniors who played significant roles, it was important that she was ready to step up this season and be the go-to player.
Her freshman year, she started in a lineup that featured several talented players and on a team that fell just short of an NCAA Tournament berth. That experience early on in her career has enabled her to become a mentor to the youthful team this season.
Gena Grundhoffer, a freshman forward, has started all 22 games this season and hopes to follow in Mann’s footsteps.
“She always encourages and helps me whenever I have questions or get down on myself,” Grundhoffer said. “She always sets the right example by working hard and being a great teammate.”
Passionate is the word coach Sue Troyan used to describe her star guard.
“Mann’s passion is all encompassing on and off the court,” Troyan said. “Whether it’s a cause she’s involved in, friendships, class or basketball she’s passionate in terms of how she goes about her life.”
Mann’s impact goes beyond basketball as she is the founder of the ASCEND program, a student athlete group aimed at taking Lehigh’s athletic leadership development to the next level. She said she is as proud of her work off the court as she is on the court.
“I’d hope that Lehigh women’s basketball is a better program because I’ve been part of it, giving my unique and mature perspective on life as well as my high level abilities as a basketball player,” Mann said. “My mom always taught me to leave places better than how I’ve found them, and I hope that my play and my character has served the women’s basketball program for the best.”