Triton Star Finds Fun and Friends at UCSD

    All right, pop quiz: what do visualization, confidence, practice, and McDonald’s food all have in common? Give up? Well, they are all parts of UCSD point guard Maya Fok’s pregame ritual, of course.

    Courtesy UCSD Athletics

    “”I have McDonald’s before every game”” Fok laughed.

    Just don’t tell the opposing coaches, or they might start waving fries at her on the court a la Grant Hill in those McDonald’s commercials.

    Whatever Fok’s routine consists of, it appears to be working. She is among the team’s leaders in steals, assists, scoring, minutes played, three-pointers and free throws. Her 2.38 steals per game rank her seventh in the league, while her 3.15 assists per game ties her with teammate Genevieve Ruvald for eleventh in the conference. The 5’5″” junior is even averaging 2.3 rebounds per game.

    But Fok’s contributions don’t stop there.

    “”She’s a very strong, dynamic leader,”” said head coach Judy Malone. “”[She’s] very outspoken and a very high-energy person.””

    In fact, her energy was a problem at the beginning of the season.

    “”She’s a little bit quicker than we are at times and she gets down the floor quicker than everyone and tries to do it all herself,”” Malone said.

    “”[Now] she’s doing better controlling and setting up the offense.””

    Not only is Fok directing the offense, but she is also leading the Tritons during their inaugural season in Division II. A transfer from UC Davis, Fok came to UCSD after feuding with her Davis coach and being kicked off the team after her sophomore year.

    “”I was a little too intense,”” Fok said. “”The coach didn’t really like me, which was weird since I was recruited so heavily. My sophomore year we didn’t make it into the playoffs (Fok was benched for a significant part of the season) and the coach told me there wasn’t a spot for me next year, and that the team ‘wasn’t going in my direction.'””

    She then called every team in the conference, hoping to be able to play for a team that would get to face Davis. After talking to Malone, Fok decided to play for UCSD and hasn’t looked back since.

    “”I feel a lot more comfortable here,”” she said. “”The people on the team are great and it’s just a lot more fun.””

    In turn, Fok delivers to UCSD experience playing at the Division II level and terrific ball-handling skills which doesn’t have Coach Malone missing last year’s point guard, who went to Japan.

    “”[Fok brings] confidence and a very competitive attitude,”” Malone said. “”She also has the mental toughness necessary for her leadership role.””

    “”I love pressure,”” Fok said. “”Crunch time is the best part about playing. When you can pull it off under pressure, it’s the greatest feeling in the world.

    “”I really don’t care if I don’t score. Getting an assist on the game-winning shot is my dream.””

    Unfortunately, her game-winning shot in UCSD’s season opener against Point Loma Nazarene with 0.8 seconds left, and her clinching free throws in the 21st Annual UCSD Doubletree Invitational Championship game have left her short of her dream.

    What’s Fok’s secret for dealing with pressure?

    “”I talk to myself a lot,”” she laughed.

    Despite her eccentricities (or perhaps because of them), Fok and her teammates have quickly bonded and come to rely upon each other.

    “”I just want to go all out for [the team],”” she said. “”Especially the seniors, I admire them so much. I want to cherish every second I have with them and make the best out of this year.””

    To do that, according to Fok, the team needs to work on perfecting the mental aspect of the game.

    “”It’s not an issue of heart,”” she said. “”We have to be mentally prepared and gain some consistency. And gain confidence. I want them to be as confident in me as I am in them. Once we play to our potential, I know we can beat anybody in our conference.””

    With the ball resting in the capable hands of Maya Fok, the last thing she should have to worry about is her team’s confidence.

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