Some athletes positively impact a program much more than their statistics or amount of playing time would suggest.
Raegan Pebley, head coach of the Utah State women's basketball team, is supremely confident LaCale Pringle-Buchanan falls under that category.
"Oh gosh, I'm going to miss just the way she's the glue for our team," said Pebley of Pringle-Buchanan, one of four Aggie seniors. "You know, she's that player that's so in tune to every single person in our program, how they're doing ... if they're having a good day or a bad day, what do they need, and she provides that for them."
Pebley went on to repeatedly praise all the intangibles Pringle-Buchanan brings to the Lady Aggies and referred to her as "an amazing young woman."
However, Pringle-Buchanan has been more than an emotional leader for USU. When healthy, the 5-foot-10 guard has been one of the Western Athletic Conference's premier players off the bench.
Pringle-Buchanan has never started a game for Utah State, but that didn't stop her from being the Aggies' third-leading scorer a year ago. As a junior, the junior college transfer was extremely efficient offensively, averaging 8.4 points per game while playing 16.2 minutes an outing.
The Seattle native made arguably an even bigger impact on the defensive end as she ranked sixth in the WAC with 60 steals.
A left ankle injury, coupled with the emergence of Ashlee Brown and Devyn Christensen, has limited Pringle-Buchanan's effectiveness this season, but she's still undoubtedly made a difference on the court.
"I take a lot of pride in pretty much everything I do," Pringle-Buchanan said when asked about the spark she brings to the team. "I feel like that's the way to go in life. DC (Devyn Christensen) and Ash(lee) Brown have definitely stepped up and have made a lot of things a lot easier for a lot of people, but I bring what I need to bring to the table."
Now that her ankle is feeling better, Pringle-Buchanan is starting to see more court time, but she's always had that team-first mentality.
"It's meant a tremendous amount," Pebley said of Pringle-Buchanan's bench play. "There's enough talent in LaCale's game to be a starter, but not anybody can come off the bench with the confidence that she can and the ability to instantly impact a game. ... She understands that (the bench) is the best place for her for our team, and that's also a credit to her unselfishness and her total, absolute commitment to our team goals."
And while Pringle-Buchanan's minutes have gone down this year - she averages 11.6 minutes a game - this has been an enjoyable season for her, notwithstanding the ankle injury.
After all, the Aggies have enjoyed their best season since the program was reinstated. Simply put, Pringle-Buchanan is used to winning, and she's glad to have that feeling back.
As a junior in high school, Pringle-Buchanan led her team to a state title. A year later, her squad captured a division title. Pringle-Buchanan also helped the College of Southern Idaho win a lot of her games during her two years in Twin Falls.
"No one in this program likes to lose," Pringle-Buchanan said. "... I actually hate to lose more than I love to win, but it's been lovely getting all these wins we've gotten. And it's just from all the adjustments we've made and all the time we've put in and the coaching staff included, so it's been great."
While at Southern Idaho, Pringle-Buchanan was a all-Region 18 second-team selection both years. As a sophomore, No. 1 averaged 11.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.8 steals a contest. Pringle-Buchanan was among the national JUCO leaders in steals.
Nothing has changed since then. When healthy, Pringle-Buchanan still provides instant offensive off the pine and displays her gift of thievery. Even with her limited playing time, Pringle-Buchanan ranks fifth on the team with 31 steals.
It's an innate gift Pringle-Buchanan has always taken a lot of pride in.
"I guess I'm just pretty good instinctual, but sometimes at the same time it gets me in trouble being so instinctual because I then shy away from things that were just told to me," Pringle-Buchanan. "But yeah, I'm instinctual. I love boxing, so I use the speed bag a lot, so my hands are quicker from doing that."
Pringle-Buchanan enjoyed her best game as an Aggie on Feb. 23 of last season as she poured in 22 points and finished with seven steals in a road game against New Mexico State.
Pringle-Buchanan hasn't had an offensive outburst like that in 2010-11, but has been a major difference-maker on a couple of occasions.
Case in point: Pringle-Buchanan scored 12 points and had two steals in USU's victory at Weber State. The Aggies were 0-4 heading into that contest, and USU capitalized on the momentum from that victory by winning its next four games.
Pringle-Buchanan, who averages 4.0 points and 1.3 assists per game this season, also scored nine points in a big home victory over Nevada.
Needless to say, Pringle-Buchanan, a McDonald's All-American nominee as a prep senior - she averaged 17.6 points, 10.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists a contest - is sad to see her collegiate career coming to an end.
Pringle-Buchanan has enjoyed her time in Logan and spoke warmly of the concern USU showed for her when recruiting her out of CSI. As a sophomore at CSI, Pringle-Buchanan recalled struggling with a math class and receiving an encouraging phone call from USU assistant coach George Brosky.
"I got a call from coach Brosky and he talked to me and he spoke to me like he cared, like he really talked to me like a father would," Pringle-Buchanan recounted. "So I think that alone showed a lot that they cared for me as a program, and not just about basketball but more as a young lady."
Pringle-Buchanan will graduate from USU in a couple of months with degrees in interdisciplinary studies and communications. The senior hopes to play oversees, "but besides that I want to either be a coach or a sports broadcaster one day, so those options are what I'm looking into."
Whatever Pringle-Buchanan decides to do, Pebley is confident she will excel. After all, she has excelled as an Aggie in a myriad of ways.
"We adore her and I know she believes in what we're doing as a program, and I think her impact will be felt for a long time," Pebley said.