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Women of Inspiration

Danielle Lawrie
2009 NCAA Champion, UW Women's Softball

Career Highlights: Named the 2009 USA Softball Player of the Year and the Honda Award Winner after leading the Huskies to the 2009 National Championship, it's first in the sport of softball... Named Most Outstanding Player of the Women's College World Series after pitching every inning for the Huskies and going 5-1 with a 1.88 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 42.2 innings... Also had a grand slam in the national semifinal victory over Georgia to propel the Huskies into the Championship Series, where they swept then-No. 1 Florida by scores of 8-0 and 3-2... Also named a First Team All-American for the second time in her career along with being named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year, First Team All-Pac-10 and First Team All-Pacific Region... Was recently nominated for an ESPY award... Led the nation with 521 strikeouts and 42 victories and ranked third in the country with 21 shutouts and sixth with a 0.98 ERA... Pitched a 15-inning marathon in which she threw 271 pitches and struck out 24 batters in the NCAA Regional final game to send UW to the Super Regionals... Her 521 strikeouts on the season are a UW single-season record and one shy of the Pac-10 record... Also broke UW season records for wins, shutouts, innings pitched, games started and complete games and already owns career records for strikeouts (1,365), shutouts (41), complete games (108) and innings pitched (888.1) with one year remaining... She already ranks fifth in Pac-10 history and 13 in NCAA history for career strikeouts... Was named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week a record six times in 2009... Sat out the 2008 season while playing for Canada in the 2008 Olympic Games... Made four appearances in Beijing, striking out 13 batters in 12 innings... Led UW to the Women's College World Series in 2007, being named First Team All-American and also earning a spot on the WCWS All-Tournament team after firing a no-hitter and one-hitter in helping UW into the National Semifinals.

What does it mean to be honored by the Storm as part of Women of Inspiration Night?
When I received the phone call, I think the biggest thing was thinking about our team and how great we did this year. You receive individual awards, but you have to thank your teammates when you receive them. That's the first thing that came to mind.

What women have inspired you in your career?
Growing up, I didn't have one single person I focused on. I did kind of look up to Lisa Fernandez when I was really little. My mom, but no kind of personal athlete.

What has it meant to you to grow up in an era with professional female leagues, not only National Pro Fastpitch but also the WNBA and WPS?
It's tough, because you're not signing for a $1.5 million signing bonus when you're playing. The biggest thing for me has been being able to come to college and to be part of the first National Championship team and become the best athlete. That's helped me become the best person. I would love to pursue something further, if I could go play in Japan or maybe get drafted and do something, but it's not what I would make a career out of. I think it's a great opportunity for little kids, since it's out of the Olympics in 2016. It does give kids a goal to not stop at college and there is an opportunity to play, but I think the biggest thing for me is to really make sure you make the four or five years you play in college the best experience you can, and I'm doing that.

Can you put into words what it meant to win a championship?
It still really hasn't set in. I haven't had time to just relax since the World Series because I've been on the go with the Canadian team and teaching camps. I think the biggest thing that comes to mind is you realize the great people you get to accomplish that with. When you come back to Seattle, you get a vibe from everyone that it's not just your team that did it but it's something for the whole state of Washington. I think the coolest thing is we broke through, we're the first and no one can ever take that away from us.

How much of a sense did you have of the way your run captured the attention of the entire Seattle area?
We received tons of e-mails and you'd get texts from random numbers of people who just got your number and said, 'Great job; keep it up.' Especially when we came back - the amount of support from people when we would all go out or go out for dinner. You'd have people who would come up to you and say stuff to you. I think that's the coolest thing, because it doesn't really happen for girls. Guys get recognized, but when a girl's face can get recognized and people are coming up and excited, you know you've just done something that's pretty great. Our team, we'll never get to all play together as one again, so I think the coolest thing is that we were the first and we did it in a fashionable style. It's amazing. I'm still in a whirlwind with it.

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