Saturday, January 10, 2009

Lucky Number Seven

By Lauren Biggers
Women's Basketball vs. Georgia Southern

There’s a team in Davidson playing some pretty good basketball right now.

They have the best record in the Southern Conference. Sport a perfect league record.

Boast the pre-season Player of the Year on their roster.

No, not those Wildcats.

Sports Illustrated isn’t knocking down the door to get these interviews and beat writers from Charlotte to Germany (!) aren’t angling for access. The casual sports fan couldn’t name (or even mispronounce) a single player on this roster, and I’m willing to bet they don’t get hounded for autographs at the mall (phone numbers, probably, but not autographs).

But while you’ve been caught up in the MADness surrounding the Davidson Wildcat men’s team (and rightly so, kettle), the other team that plays in Belk Arena has quietly rolled to a perfect 7-0 Southern Conference record.

The Wildcat women’s team picked up their lucky number seventh win yesterday afternoon in a 65-54 win over Georgia Southern.

Four (!) Wildcats finished in double figures, led by a monstrous effort from junior Julia Paquette with 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting.

Preseason SoCon POY Mercedes Robinson finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, getting her fifth straight double-double on an offensive rebound and put-back in the last minute of play to punctuate the ‘Cats’ win, and junior Alex Thompson turned in another solid performance with 13 points on 4-of-9 shooting along with five assists and ZERO turnovers.

But this one took 17 second-half points from No. 24, sophomore Ashley Lax (held scoreless in the first) to seal the deal.

The Wildcats got big performances from Julia (nine points!) and senior Mandy Halbersleben (SEVEN REOUNDS!) in the first half, but were deadlocked at 26 entering the second.

This one needed LAX, who scored her first bucket with 11:45 to go. And just didn’t stop.

Afterwards in the training room, I caught up with her for a few minutes. (Delivered to her “interview” and encouraged by Mercedes, “Don’t be scared of Lauren.” Thanks 'Cedes.)

What happened for you in the second half, I want to know?

“I want to score and I wanted to beat this team,” she answers like a seasoned pro. “I just tried to figured out what I can do to make that happen. Just relaxing and looking for more opportunities.”

Saturday afternoon, LAX capitalized on those opportunities, as her Wildcats stayed perfect in league play.

“Like Coach said after the game, there’s no reason for us to play tentative because this is something the school has never done before. So there’s no pressure,” she says.

“I can honestly say that we care about each other, and I want to do it for the girl sitting next to me.”

And you? You should see it.

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