Ariel Edwards remembers beating herself up all too often last season. The Christ the King forward said she felt like a missed shot was the end of the world and she was not able to mentally recover from it.
“I would sit in my self-pity sometimes, instead of just playing,” the Penn-State-bound senior said. “I would let one little event get me and ruin my whole game.”
Edwards moved past that this summer playing for the Philly Belles AAU team with CK teammate Bria Smith. She said she wanted to make an impact on the national scene and did so by leading her team to the finals of the US Junior Nationals in Washington, D.C., where she held her own against Chiney Ogwumike, the nation’s top recruit heading to Stanford.
“Her mentality over the summer was totally different,” Smith said. “She just got very hooked into what she is doing.”
That has carried over into what has been a stellar season so far at Christ the King and earned her another chance to prove herself as one of the nation’s elite.
Edwards was selected Feb. 9 as a WBCA All-American along with St. Michael Academy guard Jennifer O’Neill. They, along with 18 other honorees, will get to play in the annual game April 3 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. This year’s version will be the first to be played on the same court as the NCAA Women’s Final Four.
“I was very excited,” Edwards said. “I am going to get to play in Texas with all the best players. It’s an exciting experience.”
She has earned the honor by having one of the best all-around seasons of any player in New York City. The 6-foot-2 Edwards can lead or finish a fast break, shoot the three if need be and can also score in the post. She said she has matured this year, putting bad plays behind her.
“Now she will miss a shot, but now she is going after the rebound,” CK Coach Bob Mackey said.
If you would had told O’Neill three years ago that she would be named an All-American, she would have looked at you as if you were crazy.
“I never would have believed it,” said the St. Mike’s senior, who is also expected to be a McDonald’s and Parade All American in a clean sweep.
But the 5-foot-6 combo guard emerged last year, leading the Eagles to their first New York State Federation Class AA championship. O’Neill had a huge summer, committed to Kentucky in the fall and hasn’t slowed down since.
“Not in a million years,” St. Mike’s Coach Apache Paschall said, when asked if he thought O’Neill could have been an All-American when she was a freshman. “She’s the biggest surprise for the St. Mike’s and Exodus [AAU] programs.”
Reach Marc Raimondi and Joseph Staszewski at mraimondi@
©2010 Community News Group
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