Lauren Schwartz left her mark during her freshman season with Rice Women’s Basketball. Her career at South Main is only getting started.
The departure of senior Nicole Iademarco following the 2018-2019 season left an opening in the Rice Women’s Basketball starting lineup. The Owls were returning several role players who would be candidates to fill the final spot, but head coach Tina Langely opted for a new face over a familiar one.
Lauren Schwartz, a freshman from Union, Kentucky started the Owls’ opening game against Nicholls St. She earned a second start that same week against Arkansas-Little Rock. From that point onward, the job was hers. She became one of three players on the roster to start every game for Rice this past season.
Langley noticed Schwartz had the potential to be special from the start. “She has the little characteristics that can help someone be great,” she said. “The grit that you need and just the relentlessness that she shows on the court.”
Schwartz was third on the team in scoring (9.6 points per game) and third in rebounds (116). Eventual WNBA Draft selection Erica Ogwumike and center Nancy Mulkey were the only players who topped Schwartz in either statistic. For a freshman playing among some of the best to ever wear Rice uniforms, the game never looked too big.
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There was a learning curve as she adjusted to the college game, but she navigated those challenges well. She became more consistent as the year progress. Schwartz finished with double-digit points in six of her final seven games after tallying nine double-digit outings in her first 22 games. Even on nights when she struggled to find her shot, she found ways to make an impact.
“She’s driven in a way that you don’t teach, she has that internally,” Langely declared. “I think that’s going to help her continue to grow at a really fast rate and have a lot of success.”
Translation: For Lauren Schwartz, the best is yet to come.