Lisa Cermignano, Tajama Abraham and Colleen McCrea stood on stage at Commencement last May and were honored by the University and President Clinton.
Just six months later, the three senior standouts, who led a talented GW women’s basketball team to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament last season, have left GW, entered the real world and are making names for themselves once again.
On the court
Abraham was back doing what she knows best this summer. A founding member of WNBA Sacramento Monarchs, she played in 28 games and started in five.
“We’re just really proud of her,” Cermignano said. “You’re seeing someone you watched grow.”
Abraham, last year’s Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year, played professional basketball in Italy this fall, but left the team after Sunday’s game, according to Chris Stockton, GW’s assistant director of sports information.
“She likes Italy, but doesn’t care for the way professional basketball is played there,” Stockton said.
He said Abraham will return to the United States in a couple of weeks after watching her brother, a fellow basketball player, play in Barcelona. Stockton said she plans to pursue a career in broadcasting, and hopes to broadcast women’s basketball games this winter.
She also expects to play for the WNBA again next season, Stockton said.
In another world
Cermignano didn’t wander far from the basketball court or the Washington area when she accepted a position as an assistant coach for the Maryland Lady Terrapins this summer.
“It’s another world,” Cermignano said from her office at Cole Field House. “It’s something I’ve always had an interest in, and I think I can learn a lot.”
But the transition from player to coach is hard for Cermignano, who was seventh in the nation last year in three-point shooting percentage.
“I’m learning that coaching is a lot of standing,” she said. “It’s hard this year for me to have to relate things to the players, instead of just doing it.”
Cermignano, who had ankle surgery over the summer, said she would love to come back to GW as a coach.
“To be considered for a job there would be pretty neat,” she said. “It would be great to go back there.”
Behind the desk
For McCrea, who led the Atlantic 10 conference in steals and assists last season, playing basketball was easy compared to taking the Certified Public Accountant exam, which she struggled with last week.
“It’s the hardest thing I’ve done in my life,” McCrea said of the test.
After a relaxing summer in New Jersey, McCrea is working for the auditing department of Price Waterhouse in Washington, and spent the last three and a half months studying for the CPA test.
“Getting through it the first time is an accomplishment by itself,” McCrea said. “I have no idea how I did.”
McCrea said she is not surprised her two peers are still in the sport, and that she’s the one moving on.
“I was always the serious one,” she said. “I’m glad they’re there, it makes me feel like I’ll always be a part of it.”
McCrea said she will also be active in youth basketball after work settles down.
The three were more than teammates the last four years – they were close friends who still keep in touch.
McCrea and Cermignano say they talk on the phone almost daily and kept in touch with Abraham when she was in the country.
All three also keep in touch with Coach Joe McKeown. McCrea attended Friday’s practice and looked forward to coming to a game.
“I would hope that I wouldn’t have to pay for a ticket,” she joked.
McCrea said it would be weird to watch a game at the Smith Center and not play.
“It hasn’t hit me yet that we’re never doing it again,” McCrea said.
For Cermignano, getting to a game may be difficult, but it is high on her priority list.
“It’s just a matter of time until I come to a game or practice,” she said. “It was just a great feeling for four years.”
But no matter where they are, the women said they will keep their GW spirit.
“I cheer GW and love GW and always will,” Cermignano said. “You can’t beat the Colonials!”