Advertisement

Navy women bid goodbye to Edwards

Erin Edwards has the rare distinction of being the lone senior on the Navy women's basketball team.

Edwards was part of a two-player recruiting class brought in by former head coach Tom Marryott and was left alone when Liz Moten quit the team following her freshman season.

So Edwards will get the Senior Night spotlight entirely during a pregame ceremony prior to tonight's game against Bucknell.

]

By all accounts, Edwards has handled the responsibility of being the lone senior captain quite well.

]

"Erin meets the ideal description of a captain. She has been real good leadership-wise in terms of setting an example and speaking up when necessary," Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper said. "As a coach, you like when you feel a partnership with a player and they trust you. Erin is like an assistant coach in that I trust her completely to impart to the other players what I'm looking for and what I want done."

]

Pemper describes Edwards as "sort of an old soul" and said she doesn't have a real forceful personality. However, the 5-foot-7 guard has been a vocal leader dating back to last season when she saw that senior captains Angela Myers and Cassie Consedine were not.

]

It was Edwards who gave an impassioned speech at halftime of last year's Patriot League championship game when Navy trailed visiting American by 12 points at halftime. The Midshipmen came out in the second half and rallied to a 47-40 victory.

]

"I don't remember Erin's exact words, but I do remember that she was able to take us out of our frantic and frustrated mind-sets to being calm and just having fun," Navy sophomore point guard Kara Pollinger said.

]

"She reminded us that we don't get many opportunities like this, to play in the Patriot League Championship on live television, and that we had worked so hard to get to the place we were at, so why not make it the most memorable game of our lives? She said all of this with pure confidence that we were going to go out in the second half and make school history. Her attitude was contagious and I honestly don't know if the game would have turned out the way it did if she didn't say what she said at halftime."

]

Edwards comes from a Philadelphia-based basketball family. Her father and uncle both played at Philadelphia Textile, while her older sister played at the United States Merchant Marine Academy. Edwards decided she also wanted to attend a service academy after going on the official visit to King's Point with her sister.

]

"I wanted to get a great education and play basketball and I liked the career opportunities after graduation and the idea of serving my country," she said.

]

Edwards played for a prep powerhouse at Ursuline Academy, which captured three Delaware state championships during her career. That was due largely to the presence of Elena Delle Donne, a 6-foot-5 center who was the nation's No. 1 recruit in 2008.

]

"It was super-exciting and a great thing to be part of. Not many players can say they had Pat Summitt (Tennessee) and Geno Auriemma (Connecticut) come to their practices," said Edwards, who also played on the same Amateur Athletic Union team as Delle Donne.

]

Edwards received some shocking news a week before she was scheduled to report to the Naval Academy for plebe summer as her father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Robert Edwards fought the disease for two years before succumbing in July, 2011.

]

Pemper and several members of the Navy women's basketball team attended the funeral in Philadelphia, during which Edwards delivered the eulogy for her father.

]

"Erin handled her father's passing with such strength, dignity and grace," Pemper said.

]

Robert Edwards attended every Navy basketball home game during Erin's freshman season when she started 12 games. He was not able to attend as many games during her sophomore campaign, which Edwards admitted was difficult.

]

Edwards was a huge part of arguably the finest season in program history last year as Navy captured the Patriot League Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time. Although a natural two guard, Edwards took over as the point guard down the stretch and proved a steadying influence and solid floor general. She also led the Patriot League in 3-point field goal percentage by hitting 23 of 46 attempts (50 percent) against conference foes.

]

Edwards has returned to off guard this season and is again shooting leading the league with a .387 3-point shooting percentage. She was instrumental in Navy's season sweep of archrival Army, canning a total of seven treys in the two victories.

]

"Erin has been a real reliable player from the beginning, kind of a steady Eddie," Pemper said. "She's one of the more accurate shooters in the league and is a tough defender. She has a high basketball IQ and a very versatile skill set."

]

Edwards, who will pursue Naval aviation following graduation, said she's enjoyed every aspect of playing basketball at the academy and admits there might be some tears tonight.

]

"So many great things have happened during my time in the program that I never would have expected. What I'll remember most is putting so much time, energy and effort into basketball every day and the strong bonds I've built with my teammates," she said. "I'm not a real emotional person so I'd like to think that (tonight's ceremony) won't be that way, but I have a feeling it will."

Advertisement
Advertisement