Whether it’s on the basketball court with her teammates or in the classroom pursuing her career goals, Madison Wong has embraced chemistry.

On the court, Wong is a proven leader, having guided her team to an 18-win 2019–20 campaign—the most in her four years as a Wildcat—as well as a postseason appearance. Driven by a commitment to excellence that Chico State women’s basketball head coach Brian Fogel called “unwavering,” Wong put in the work and enjoyed steady improvement each year.

“Her work ethic and discipline are off the charts,” he said. “She would come to practice early and be one of the last to leave. She was always striving to be the best she could be.”

As her senior season began, Wong had put herself in a position to climb up a pair of all-time lists at Chico State in 3-pointers and assists—and she made the most of her opportunities. On February 1, Wong hit five 3-pointers at Cal State Monterey Bay to break former teammate Whitney Branham’s previous school record of 208 career 3s.

Then on February 22, on Senior Night and the final regular season home game of her storied career, Wong scored a season-high 23 points and nailed seven more 3-pointers against Sonoma State to become Chico State’s single-season leader from long range with 81—surpassing Marissa White’s 16-year-old mark of 80.

On the same night, with her family in attendance, Wong had also established a new California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) standard for career 3-pointers, ultimately finishing her college career with 226 triples and breaking a record that had stood for more than 20 years.

Maddy Wong poses holding a basketball.
“I wanted to play basketball (in college), but it wasn’t my top priority,” Wong said. “If it happened, then it would be a plus and privilege for me.” Jessica Bartlett / University Photographer

“I don’t know if I put that on my résumé, like ‘Hey, I’m Chico State’s all-time leading 3-point shooter,’” joked Wong, who also ranks fifth in school history with 384 assists. “But it’s definitely something to tell my kids about.”

Wong wrapped up her career with a stellar senior season: She led the Wildcats in scoring and minutes played, and was second in assists and third in steals. As a 2019–20 All-CCAA First-Team selection, Wong said she looks to lead by example.

“I just try to be the best role model for my teammates, inside the classroom and on the floor, always working hard,” she said. “Watching me work hard hopefully inspires them to work harder.”

Wong made her mark both on and off the court. With a 3.77 GPA, the chemistry major has earned five CCAA All-Academic honors and a pair of Division II Athletic Directors Association Academic Achievement Awards. The latest recognition came earlier this month as she was honored with the CCAA’s Dr. Hal Charnofsky Memorial Award, given to two student-athletes from each of the conference’s 13 institutions.

“Her athletic and academic achievements didn’t happen by accident,” Fogel said. “She was willing to make sacrifices and focus on doing things properly. She earned those awards by putting in hours and hours of hard work.”

As dedicated as she was to her sport, Wong’s focus coming from Elk Grove High School was to succeed in the classroom.

Wong crouches down with her teammates around her and leads them in a cheer.
“Maddy earned the respect of her teammates through her actions,” said Chico State women’s head basketball coach Brian Fogel. “She never took a day off and was consistent in her efforts.”

“We’re here to go to school. I came here to get my bachelor’s degree in chemistry,” she said. “A degree has always been important to me, and the way I was raised by my parents, it’s just something that has been ingrained in me since I was a kid.”

In fact, playing collegiate basketball, even for a player who finished her high school career as its all-time career scorer, wasn’t on Wong’s radar when visiting and applying for colleges. But when she visited Chico State, met and practiced with its basketball team, and toured the classrooms, she realized it could offer the best of both worlds.

“I fell in love with the campus and the people right away. It was just a different vibe from the other schools that I visited,” she said. “When I came here my freshman year and actually lived here, it hit me—this is a true a college town and it’s a good, good place to be.”

Now armed with her undergraduate degree, Wong will further her education this fall at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her goal is to obtain her PhD and specialize in organic synthesis chemistry.

But before she begins the rigors of graduate school, the best women’s long-range sharpshooter to ever don a Wildcat uniform fondly remembers her final season, both on the court and in the classroom.

“We all go through the same struggle, with school and staying up late,” Wong said, “but I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.”