Playing basketball at GW isn’t the first time Shannon Cranshaw has found her place with a tight-knit group.
The Ormond Beach, Fla. native is the youngest of four siblings in a family she described as competitive but supportive – the kind that makes everything into a game.
“It’s made me very selfless,” Cranshaw said. “I’m all about the team, and I think being from a big family has really helped me in that aspect.”
Her two older sisters also play basketball, making them the first generation of Cranshaws to branch out from baseball and football.
Experiencing that constant competition throughout her childhood has helped the sophomore guard adjust to a heated and demanding college lifestyle, both on and off the court, she said.
Her competitive hunger may not have been completely satisfied during her freshman year, when she averaged 2.0 points in 8.6 minutes per game, logging the fewest minutes on the team. After her rookie campaign, Cranshaw asked the coaching staff if she could stay in D.C. for both summer sessions to work on her shooting and physicality.
She lifted five times a week and worked one-on-one with strength and conditioning coach Brandi Walker. Through the intense training, Cranshaw said she “paid her dues.” And her dedication and improvement did not go unnoticed by head coach Jonathan Tsipis.
Tsipis said he saw the difference over the summer, during the team’s trip to England and France. Cranshaw kept improving, and halfway through the season, he placed her in the starting lineup.
“She was able to take bumps, especially defensive, and get her shot off quicker,” Tsipis said. “As much as we were telling her, for us to be successful, we needed her to be ready to shoot all the time to help stretch defenses.”
Since then, she has been a consistent outlet passer, stretching the floor with her ability to hit critical three-pointers. She’s averaging six points per game, leads the team with 41 threes and has improved her shooting percentage from 28 to 34.
With the success of the team this year, she said one difference stands out to her: the chemistry of the players has translated onto the court. Coming from a big family, Cranshaw said she’s used to the give-and-take that goes along with being a teammate and successful competitor.
Cranshaw has formed a close bond with fellow sophomore guard Hannah Schaible. The two had trained together in Florida, but only started to become friends when they came to GW.
“There’s always that person who doesn’t really get on your nerves when they’re like, ‘Hey, you’re doing this wrong,’ or ‘Hey, fix your shot this way,’ and I feel like we are both that for each other,” Schaible said.
When she talks about taking criticism, Cranshaw goes back to her family. She said her parents have served as her biggest supporters, knowing when to critique her play and be honest with her about how she can improve.
“That’s helped dividends in my play because I can take criticism from our coaches and I know for the most part [it’s] for me to be the best player I can be for this team,” Cranshaw said.