EWC’s O’Connell continuing career

TORRINGTON – Eastern Wyoming College sophomore Lauren O’Connell signed her letter of intent to continue her basketball and academic career next year at the University of Nebraska – Kearney.

“I went on a lot of visits and the community felt like the right fit,” O’Connell said. “It seemed like the place I can transition to the best.”

O’Connell had a solid season for the Lady Lancers this past winter, starting in 30 of EWC’s 31 games. She averaged 15.9 points per game, in large part due to her lights-out shooting from behind the arc. She hit 40.5 percent of her shots from deep, averaging 2.4 made three-pointers each game.

The sophomore scored in double-figures in 24 games this winter, including 11 games with 20 or more points and two games where she topped 30 points, with 34 points against Central Wyoming College (Nov. 20) and 31 points against Northeastern Junior College (Jan. 25). In that 31-point effort, O’Connell drained 8-of-9 from behind the arc.

Elsewhere on the court, O’Connell averaged 3.7 boards, 2.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game. She was one of three Lady Lancers to be named to the All-Region IX South Team. As a captain, she helped pilot the Lady Lancers to a 21-11 record, before they were bounced out of the Region IX Tournament.

“I think we did great, especially because we had basically a whole new team,” O’Connell said of EWC’s 2017-18 campaign, which only had two remaining players from the season before. “That was the best part of coming here was making all of the friends that I did.”

O’Connell said that she expects to be able to fit right in with what the Lopers, a team that went 21-7 last year, in Kearney run.

“It’s similar to what we did this year,” O’Connell said of her new team. “It’s a lot of guard play and it’s a style that can fit me well. I can play well in this system.”

Kearney is the next stop on the academic and athletic path for O’Connell. The Houston, Texas native began her college career at Utah State Eastern before transferring to EWC in Torrington.

“It just kind of happened,” O’Connell said of her journey so far. “It’s the way recruiting worked out. I love this part of the country now that I have been here, although the cold can take some getting used to. The move to Torrington was one of the best decisions I made.”

O’Connell also selected her next move for academic reasons as well. She plans to enroll in the physical therapy program in Kearney.

“Academics is always something that is really important to me because you can only play sports for so long, but your education lasts a lifetime,” she said.

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