So far this season, Lawson has had a difficult time staying on the court due to foul trouble. However, when she has played, she has had an immediate impact, scoring almost a point a minute. Here she talks to us about being from Florida, engineering, and dunking.
Q: Youre from Florida. So are Samantha Carter and Angie Pressey on the volleyball
team. Whats the deal with all these star Florida athletes coming to Cal all of a
sudden? Are you all calling each other and saying, "Pssst
Cal is the place to
A: Yeah, actually me and Angie were pretty cool. Before I came here, she was like, "Im going! Im going! Youve got to come too!" So it felt good to come with somebody else from Florida, so I didnt feel like I was coming by myself. But yes, we joked around about it.
Q: Was your family affected by the hurricanes?
A: Actually, when the hurricanes happened, my parents were actually here. They were here visiting me, so, they kind of bypassed the hurricanes.
Q: What do you miss the most about Florida?
A: Probably my family and being around tehm. But its not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I was always the one who stayed home. Ive traveled a little bit, but Ive never been away for a long time. So right now, I miss my family a little bit. But its cool though, its really cool, because the team makes up for it, because I feel like Im in another family.
Q: Leigh Gregory said that she felt a connection right away with your parents on your
visit here last year. Is it hard on them, you going so far away for school?
A: Not really. I think my mom and dad are really enjoying the idea of me being here. They feel like they have a vacation spot. Theyll come watch games; they feel like they have somewhere to go. I think theyre really happy that I have the opportunity to come to Berkeley, to have a great education and also great basketball program. I think theyre very excited for me.
Q: What schools were your finalists beside Cal?
A: I actually came down to here and Georgia Tech. I chose Cal because its such a prestigious university, the number one college in the country, which is so impressive. Also, I felt like I connected with the team here better than I connected with any other team. It felt right to be here, like it was a fit.
Q: What kind of classes are you taking right now? I read that you were interested in
A: Im actually starting my major right now because I had been accepted into the engineering program early, so right now Im taking computer science classes and math. Unfortunately, most of my computer science classes are in the evening, which messes up our schedule, but were working it through, though.
Q: What sparked your interest in engineering?
A: In the seventh grade, I took my parents computer apart, without their permission. My mom told me that I was gonna be in a lot of trouble unless I put it back together. So I put it back together and it worked properly, so figured, hey, if I could do that, then engineering is for me! Every since then, I wanted to be an engineer.
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: Free time? What free time? Time management has been the toughest thing about college. Actually, Ive been to a couple of football games and Im really into watching swimming, which I think is just so great. And one of my roommates is on the tennis team, and so I plan to go watch her play. Im just trying to branch out, experience new things.
Q: What are your goals this year?
A: Actually, my goal this year is just to work hard. Its just every game, everyday, telling myself, "Ive got to get rebounds, Ive got to finish, Ive got to execute." Those are my goals, the things I say to myself, and I feel that if I say them to myself everyday, Ill do them, and thats how Im going to get better. I need to do my role, do all the little things, and if I do that, the team will benefit. Everyone has got to do their role.
Q: I heard you won a dunk contest at an all-star game
A: It was at a senior all-star game at UCF (University of Central Florida). They had a dunk contest for girls, and everyone was like, "You should enter!" So at first they set the basket at 9 feet. But then another girl and I were tied and so they moved it to regular height and I won.
Q: Will we see you dunk in a game before your Cal career is over?
A: Yeah, some time in the next four years. Ill look to dunk in a game before Im through.
Q: Coach (Caren) Horstmeyer said that youre one of the most coachable players
shes ever had.
A: Yeah? Wow. Im all about learning right now, trying to get better. I feel like if theres something thats going to make me better, I have to do it. If theres something extra then Ill have to do it. I think its a great compliment from Coach Horstmeyer, and I really appreciate it. That really touched me; it really touched me. Because Im all about getting better for the good of the team.
Q: In the first exhibition game, I saw you get a rebound and throw a long outlet pass,
which is precisely the skill I saw you work on the week before in practice. Those are
things which dont show up in the box score. Of course, you did quite well there
too17 points in only 15 minutes of play. What did you think of your performance?
A: I think I did good. But that game also showed me what I still needed to do, in practice and in the gym. I think I did OK, but there are some obvious things that I need to work on, like my defense could have been better, could have finished better, could have boxed out better
Q: Speaking of defense, is that a focus for you and for the team in practice?
A: I think that anybody can do offense, but a hard worker can do defense. I think that defense is key. Any player can get on the floor and throw up a shot. But to work hard on defense and shut down the other team, thats cool
[Here Coach Horstmeyer interrupts. She wants to know if we are talking about basketball.]
Q: Of course we are! Ummm, Jessica
so your hair is like really cute and stuff! Do
you have any hair tips for Bear fans out there? Is that better, coach? OK, OK, serious
Your teammates call you "Country." Did you know
thats what they called Keanna Levy last year? Whats up with that?
A: [Laughs] Yeah, they say that our accents are different. They think that our accents are country. And I guess, coming from Florida, I kinda am Like comparing my accent to people from here, then Im like, now I see why they call me country. But of course, my accent is normal in Florida.
Q: One of the most interesting things about you is that youve won a bunch of
state oratorical competitions. What did you have to do in these competitions?
A: They would give you a topic and youd have to write a 600-word essay and then perform the essay in front of an audience and a crowd of judges. They go by age group, and each age group has a winner. Ive been doing it for nine years, and Ive won nine years straight.
Q: Of all those competitions, which topic was your favorite?
A: One year the topic was about a young persons perspective on what we would change. That was easy for me, because Im a young person, and I had a lot to say.
Q: What else would you like to say to all the Bear fans out there?
A: Come out and watch us play. Once you see one game, I guarantee youll come back for another!
Jessica Lawson and the Bears host the Contra Costa Times Classic at Haas Pavilion this weekend. On Saturday December 4, Pepperdine takes on Tennessee Tech at 1 p.m., and Cal faces Cal State Northridge at 3 p.m. Regardless of the outcome, California will play Sunday at 3 p.m. versus either Pepperdine or Tennessee Tech.
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