BBall preview: Laying down the Law-rence

GW forward Erica Lawrence may be the best athlete GW has seen since 1988, according to head coach Joe McKeown. Her unrivaled speed and endurance place her as one of the best women’s college basketball players in the country. And with one year of experience under her belt, Lawrence is looking forward to a dominant season.

Last year was a learning experience for me, Lawrence said. I did not expect to start in any game as a freshman. It was a really great opportunity. I love playing at GW.

McKeown recalled Lawrence’s first game as a Colonial, which was a road contest in front of more than 4,800 fans.

We played Vanderbilt (University), which is one of the best teams in the nation, McKeown said. I put her on the court and she was fearless. She scored 16 points and had eight rebounds. She was our best player that game.

After a strong showing last season, the six-foot sophomore from Nyack, N.Y., was named to the Atlantic 10 Conference’s third team. She barely lost the A-10 Rookie of the Year award to Xavier’s Amy Waugh. Lawrence started in 31 of the team’s 32 games and was the team’s fourth-leading scorer, averaging nine points per game.

Lawrence spent the summer lifting weights and practicing her perimeter shot with her sister to prepare for the 2000-01 season.

I think my ball-handling skills have improved this year as well as my three-point shot, Lawrence said.

Coach McKeown said he has seen great improvement in Lawrence’s strength and stamina since last season.

She is one of the fastest players in the country, McKeown said. Her speed and her quickness on the court set her apart from all the rest.

Lawrence said she is excited to begin another season at GW.

I cannot wait to get started, Lawrence said. We worked really hard and I think we are going to do really good things this year. We still need to work on our chemistry, but once you have the chemistry everything else falls into place.

The forward said she looks to step up as a leader and a role model for the freshmen.

Last year, I think I brought spirit and athleticism to the team and I hope to do the same this year, Lawrence said.

McKeown said he has faith in Lawrence’s skill on the court and admires her motivation.

She is going to let things come to her this season, McKeown said. She will lead with her actions. Erica will do well in whatever she does. If she wants to be one of the great players in college basketball, she will be.

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