Beck, Lawrence invited to WNBA camp

Thought no GW women’s basketball player was headed to Tampa, Fla., this weekend to play ball? Think again.

Seniors Kim Beck and Sarah-Jo Lawrence will head to the Sunshine State today for the WNBA pre-draft camp, held at the University of Tampa Friday and Saturday.

“Coach (Joe) McKeown told us about it right after the Rutgers game,” Beck said. “There’ll be drills and scrimmages. It’s exciting.”

Only three Colonials have ever been drafted into the WNBA: Tajama (Ngongba) Abraham in 1997 by the Sacramento Monarchs and Cathy Joens and Ugo Oha by New York Liberty and Connecticut Sun, respectively, in 2004. This year’s draft will be April 9 in Palm Harbor, Fla.

Beck said she did not know when the combine was before she found out she was invited and was surprised it was so soon. Lawrence was unavailable for comment.

“I think it’s great for them,” McKeown said. “You can imagine sending two players to the draft, it’s exciting. Because of how well they’ve played in their careers, it creates great opportunities for them regardless of what happens down there.”

McKeown, though, cautioned that there is not an overabundance of openings in the league.

“There are not a lot of jobs,” he said. “This league has 12 teams, so to make a roster in itself is a lot harder than to come out as a rookie in the NBA and make a team.”

Tuesday, Beck received Honorable Mention All-American honors by the Associated Press. The accolade was Beck’s second in as many years, making her only the fourth Colonial to be a two-time All-America selection.

In classic fashion, Beck was grateful for the award but praised her team in the same breath.

“It’s a great honor,” Beck said. “I think it says a lot about our team that we’ve gotten our name out there and done so well. But it’s not really what GW’s about. They’re always nice but going to the Sweet 16 this year was just as exciting.”

The honor comes just after the Colonials finished their season with a 27-7 record, one win shy of the program’s record for victories in a season, and second consecutive trip to the Sweet 16. Asked if GW’s season was satisfying, Beck gave a complicated answer.

“I think we could have gone further,” she said. “We reached all our goals and I think we could have won an (Atlantic 10) Championship and we could have (made the Final Four)… Nothing we can do about it now. But we had some great wins; we had a great run. I’m happy with what we did, but not satisfied.”

McKeown seemed content with the year but suggested that injuries stunted the team’s growth.

“Obviously you’d like to keep playing. But when you reflect back, I think it was great season and so many good things happened,” he said. “Had we been able to stay healthy and practice at a high level, who knows? Maybe we could have made it to (the Final Four).”

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