Basketball Preview: Elisa Aguilar ready to be senior leader

Senior guard Elisa Aguilar is the consummate basketball player. There isn’t anything she can’t do on the court. Her natural talent, combined with a sheer determination to improve on every aspect of her game, makes her a tremendous force.

I want to do everything I can to help this team, Aguilar said.

Anyone can look at Aguilar’s stats and see that that’s true. There’s no category she neglects. For example, Aguilar’s points per game dropped from 17.2 to 15.4 from her sophomore to junior year. However, during that same period, her turnovers dropped from 112 to 66, and her rebounds increased from three to 3.5 a game.

Last season, Aguilar and Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Noelia Gomez made up what GW called the Spanish Connection. Aguilar was first team all-conference while ranking second on the team and seventh in the A-10 in scoring with 15.4 points a game. She shot 82.8 percent from the free throw line and was 11th in the nation and second in the A-10 in three pointers made a game with 2.77. She was fifth in the A-10 with 5.4 assists a game.

My favorite thing to do on the court is to hand out an assist, Aguilar said. Then two people are happy – someone else and me. The thing that I do alone that is my favorite is shoot a three-point shot. That can pump up the crowd.

Now, Aguilar steps in to fill some of the scoring and leadership void left by Gomez’s graduation. She appears physically up to the task, but Aguilar has not become a premier guard in the A-10 and in the country on physical talent alone.

I believe I am very mentally tough, Aguilar said. When you’re down by 10 or 20 points, you need more than talent to get back in the game. You need to think you can make it. I don’t like to ever give up.

Aguilar said after last year’s disappointing finish, when the Colonial women did not make the NCAA Tournament, the best thing the team could do is focus on the short-term, because the steps necessary along the way can get overlooked.

We have to take it step by step, Aguilar said. We can’t think about the NCAAs or the Atlantic 10 Championship right now – before we even have played one game. Our team goal should be to take it one game at a time.

As far as personal goals, Aguilar is focusing on getting back to where she was before her injury. Last year, she missed the last six games of the season with a stress fracture in her left ankle. She also had ligament problems that kept her from practicing for months.

If there are any lasting effects to that injury, they certainly did not show in Aguilar’s preseason debut against the University of Latvia Select Team. Aguilar had 20 points in 19 minutes and handed out five assists in the win.

Aguilar said she feels ready to embrace the responsibilities that being a senior brings.

I am ready to be a leader, she said. I want to be one. There are freshmen on this team that are going to be important for us, and I want to be there if they need me.

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