Lawless: Purdue Rookie Makes Pro Debut Saturday

May 2, 2007
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    Lawless battles for position against Wisconsin.
    Fever rookie Erin Lawless has excelled through 10 days of her first WNBA training camp, and anticipates her pro debut Saturday when she will face her former college teammate, Seattle rookie Katie Gearlds. Together, Lawless and Gearlds continued the Boilermaker women’s basketball tradition and, barely more than a month ago, carried the black-and-gold to within a game of the Final Four. Saturday’s game will be played on the same floor that Lawless and Gearlds clinched the Big Ten championship.

    Gearlds was the All-America sharpshooting senior who was drafted No. 7 in the WNBA Draft by the Storm. Lawless, characterized as a versatile, hard-working, blue-collar player who seemingly did bits of everything well for the Boilermakers, went undrafted.

    Undaunted though, and eager to carve her own niche in the WNBA, Lawless has entered the Fever camp with hopes of securing one of the very few, prized roster spots to be found on one of the WNBA’s deepest clubs.

    During a Tuesday break from practice, and prior to finishing her college finals this week in West Lafayette, Lawless took time to answer questions for

    Lawless leads Purdue down the court. How close was it to the start of training camp that you knew you would be joining the Fever?
    Erin Lawless: “It was the Wednesday before camp started that I found out. My coach at Purdue informed me.”
    FB: Obviously you know of the Fever’s depth this year and the difficulty in anyone making the final roster. What thoughts go through your mind while trying to make this team?
    EL: “I'm going to continue to work hard and show the coaches what I am capable of. This is a great opportunity for me and I feel like I'm at the WNBA caliber to compete with these girls. It's a fun experience for me as well.”
    FB: What would you like to be your basketball future, even if it doesn’t include the 2007 Fever?
    EL: “Playing overseas is an option right now. I wouldn't mind going overseas and gaining experience that way. However, playing in the WNBA is something that I really want to pursue.”
    FB: Where do you perceive to be your best opportunity to find a niche on this team?
    EL: “I feel as though my versatility would help this team. The coaches have been playing me at the 4 which is where I am comfortable, but I wouldn't mind playing anywhere they feel I can help.”
    FB: At what point in your college career did you realize you had a chance to play professionally?
    EL: “I believe it was my junior year when I was able to gain a lot more strength. My parents had the confidence in me as well as my coaches.”
    FB: Sunday was your first practice with Tamika Catchings. Any initial observations?
    EL: “It was a lot of fun. Basketball has always been fun for me, and playing with someone like Catchings is a great experience. She has that passion and love for the game that you want to see in players.”
    FB: What are your strengths on the court? What things do you think you do better than those with whom you are competing in training camp?
    EL: “Again, my versatility is a huge strength for me. I feel I am capable of posting up and staying strong, but also handling the ball if need be, as well as taking that outside jumper. My speed as a post player is a big key as well. It allows me to beat some other post players down the court.”
    FB: If you were a critic of your own game, what is the biggest aspect of your game you would like to improve?
    EL: “My ball handling would be the best area for me to improve upon right now.”
    FB: Most Fever rookies have left their college campuses and put academics on hold for a few months, at least so far as physically attending classes or finals. You’re in a little different situation, though, given that you still commute from Lafayette. What has your transition been like? How often do you attend any classes or campus obligations?
    EL: “On our days off I have been able to go back to campus and finish some work, however my schedule was not as time consuming as in the past due to no science classes. This week I have to go back and take a final for one of my classes, but that's about it.”
    FB: You are originally from Illinois – what led to choosing to attend Purdue?
    EL: “My decision was initially based on academics since I am a forensics major and because not many schools had it at the time. Besides academics, Kristy Curry was a great person and the tradition of basketball excellence appealed to me as well.”
    FB: Describe your personality for Fever fans.
    EL: “Oh wow! Where do I start? I am very outgoing, a complete extrovert. I enjoy having fun and joking around with friends, but I am real intense and a tough competitor on the court. That's pretty basic for now.”
    FB: What are two things that you enjoy to do off the court, not related to basketball or eating or sleeping!
    EL: “Well, I am a shopaholic! I enjoy the mall a lot, I am very fashionable if I may say so myself. I love being outdoors in the summer, whether playing games or in a pool.”
    FB: Saturday is the Fever’s first preseason game, head-to-head against your college teammate Katie Gearlds. Any special thoughts about that game, aside from competing for your spot on the roster?
    EL: “I think it's going to be a lot of fun. There should be a lot of Boilermaker fans. Conseco is our Mackey away from Purdue. Katie and I have had some great memories on this court. It's going to be interesting to see how it goes. I’m excited about the opportunity to play against her.”
    FB: You wore #35 in college, but that number is currently worn by Fever veteran Kasha Terry. Now you’ll wear #34. Is there any personal significance to either of those numbers?
    EL: “I was #35 in college, but that's only because #34 was taken at the time! Growing up in Chicago and being a loyal Bears fan my whole life, I liked #34 because of Walter Payton.”