Sports Spotlight: Lauren Ware

Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 7:52 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - If there’s been a more heavily recruited high school athlete in North Dakota than Lauren Ware, I don’t know who it is. She was talking with basketball and volleyball programs from Division One universities across the country.

The former Century High School standout is in her second season at the University of Arizona and the Wildcats played in Sioux Falls last week.

As a freshman, Lauren Ware played in all 27 games for the NCAA Division One national runner-up. She is now a starter for Arizona and her role has increased dramatically.

Ware said: “Finishing around the rim, taking shots. They know I can shoot now. I worked a lot on my game so they’re kind of giving me the green light to shoot outside which is nice to expand my game and it makes me better too.”

The Wildcats faced Louisville at the Pentagon, which is where Lauren’s high school career ended when she tore the ACL in her left knee before her senior year at Century. The brace she wore last year is gone.

Ware said: “I knew I didn’t want to wear it for the rest of my life, so last year I wore it as a safety net, and it helped me with the USA basketball. Not wearing it has given me the free range to do that and just try it out and it went well and I’m feeling great.”

Last summer, Ware represented the United States on the U19 women’s World Cup team. They won the gold medal.

Ware said: “I don’t think it’s set in yet. I’ve been busy moving right into college after that, so I don’t think it’s really set in yet, but I’m going to look back at that and go, ‘Wow,’ that was a really cool experience that not many get to have.”

Not many people develop into a major college player either. Lauren says so many people have helped her along the way.

Ware said: “Like Fred Fridley, Jill Dollinger’s dad they were my coaches when I was younger. They helped me a lot and obviously my high school coaches, middle school coaches like Coach Wing (Wingenbach), Coach Metz. I’m actually going to call Metz after this, and Wing is coming to the game.”

Ware added: “Whatever I put into it I’m going to get out of it, so yes it’s hard. The practices are hard. The games are hard, that’s what you’re here for to get better, so it’s definitely what I expected I guess.”

Lauren signed at Arizona for basketball and volleyball. The COVID year messed up her first chance to do both and now she’s concentrating on one sport.

Ware said: “I made that decision this year and I think it’s a good decision for me with everything going on. And I miss volleyball a lot, but right now I’m focused on basketball, and I just think that’s what’s best for me.”

It’s probably best for Arizona too because at the end of overtime against Louisville, Ware sealed the win with her defense.

Ware said: “Defense is something I take a lot of pride in and that’s something Arizona in general takes a lot of pride in, our team does. So I just think that’s something that really exciting being able to block shots.”

Through three games, Lauren is averaging 9.3 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game for the Wildcats who host Marist on Friday.

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