From Brock University Athletics
ST. CATHARINES, Ont. — The Brock Badgers women’s basketball team is adding a talented shooter who is fearless when it comes to barreling into the teeth of the defence.
Victoria Lawrence, a 5-foot-10 player from Ottawa, can’t wait to join the Brock Badgers for the 2021-22 Ontario University Athletics (OUA) season.
Lawrence said she admired how the Badgers embraced the dark horse tag during a playoff run to the 2019-20 U SPORTS Championships.
“I chose to come to Brock because they were viewed as an underdog team, yet they won OUA Female Team of the Year. That speaks highly of how the team culture is and the support of the people involved behind closed doors,” said Lawrence. “I followed along on their road to nationals, and they performed great together. I want to be at a school that cares and supports its athletes on and off the court. The honesty and positivity I got from coach Mike Rao proved to me I can absorb a lot about the game and take it to the next level.”
Lawrence recently graduated from the Community Worker program at George Brown College and will be taking Child and Youth Studies at Brock.
Rao expects her to make an immediate impact on and off the court.
“Victoria is an outstanding player and a good student,” he said. “She’s going to step right into our lineup and help us.”
Lawrence competed in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) for two seasons. She transferred from Algonquin College to George Brown, where she led the Huskies with nine rebounds per game and four steals per game.
Second on the Huskies with 16.9 points per game, Lawrence posted a double-double in nine games during the 2019-20 campaign and helped the team to a 13-3 record.
Lawrence was one of only two players to rate in the Top 10 in all three categories in the province. She was named the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association’s Female Athlete of the Week, received OCAA all-star honours and was a finalist for George Brown’s Female Athlete of the Year.
“Victoria guards every position on the court. She is a good defender who rebounds well at both ends of the court,” said Rao. “She shoots the ball well and can drive to the basket. She’s similar to Theresa Brown in the sense that she can get to the basket when she needs to. If she wants to, she gets there.”
After scouting Lawrence, Rao admitted he would have trouble drawing up a plan to defend her if she were on another team.
“You can’t guard Victoria individually because you have to have an identical player to be able to secure her,” he said. “Offensively, you need to bring in a second or even a third player to stop her penetrating,” said Rao. “If you give her the perimeter, she’s not afraid to shoot it. She moves the ball well. The opposing game plan for her, I think, would be to not let her get the ball.”
In 2019-20, opposing teams tried to stop Brock’s top offensive engines, but found little success against former Badgers Melissa Tatti and Jessica Morris.
“If you want to stop one player, we’ve got a second, a third and a fourth, so we go to option ball,” said Rao. “Pick your poison because we’re not going to be a one-woman team. Victoria will be good, and they’ll try to stop her, but she’s a big piece of the puzzle. We have so much talent on our roster that they’re going to have a game plan for everybody.”
- T. Bennett