Elisa Aguilar has graced our presence on the basketball court with uncommon competitiveness and consistency. She has worn down opponents with her tenacious defense and shot down opponents with her late-game heroics.
Whether it be No. 43 pushing the ball and feeding one of her no-look passes to a teammate for a layup or drilling a three-pointer from the top of the key, the senior guard has been a true fixture in GW women’s basketball for the last three seasons.
All my life was basketball, and it’s the only thing I know how to do, Aguilar said. I enjoy to compete and to be around friends.
It doesn’t seem that long ago when Aguilar came to GW from Madrid, Spain, with the help of close friend and former teammate Noelia Gomez. She began her career as a sophomore, having come to GW with little knowledge of the English language.
When you are around the people who speak English, the first thing you get is listening, Aguilar said. The more difficult thing to do is to speak. But on the court basketball is basketball. It’s the universal language.
And Aguilar speaks that language better than most – 1,322 career points and 380 career assists in only 84 games played, the fewest amount of games played by any 1,000-career point member. Her career free-throw shooting percentage of .840 is the best in school history and her career .392 three-point shooting ranks among GW’s all-time leaders.
Aguilar said her first season was arguably her best at GW when she averaged 17.2 points per game and was named Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week five times. Her most memorable game came that year, in the first round of the 1998 NCAA Tournament when she led GW over the University of Georgia, 74-72.
I scored 31 points against Georgia, so I guess I can’t complain too much about that game, Aguilar said.
Her worst memory came at the end of her junior season when a stress fracture sidelined her for six games. That season the Colonials failed to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1993.
My injury was one of the toughest moments of my life, she said.
But Aguilar battled back this year and led the Colonials to a perfect Smith Center season and a 26-6 overall record. It was Aguilar who nailed three three-pointers in the first half against rival St. Joseph’s and scored a team-high 16 points, enabling the Colonials to pull out a three-point victory against the Hawks in early February. Aguilar stunned 3,200 Arkansas fans by scoring a game-high 31 points in a thrilling road victory to begin the new year. And despite struggling from the perimeter at the Atlantic 10 Tournament, she found her rhythm and scored 23 points against the University of California at Los Angeles in last month’s NCAA tourney.
Now, Aguilar is practicing as hard as ever even after the season’s end. Aguilar is hoping to get invited to the WNBA camps, which begin in the coming weeks, but she knows nothing is certain.
The WNBA is going to be difficult, she said. But if I get an opportunity to try to go to the camps I would try. If it happens it happens, but if it doesn’t, I’m not going to die.
Aguilar said she would return to Europe and play in Spain, France or Italy if she is not given a chance to play in the WNBA. No matter where Aguilar winds up, she said there’s a part of her that will always remain here.
For three years GW was my home, and it will be my home always, she said. To my teammates and coaches, everyone is going to be with me in my heart. I cannot forget anything.
And GW basketball fans will certainly never forget the drives she made inside the paint or the three-point daggers she drained. It’s impossible not to appreciate the sweat and will to win that she left on the court.
All I have to say is thank you for everything, it was a pleasure to be here, Aguilar said.
No Elisa, thank you, the pleasure was ours.