I don't know exactly what Layshia's legacy will be as an individual player. She's probably the best shooting guard in Cal history, depending on whether or not you think of Alexis Gray-Lawson as a point guard. But the legacy of the teams she led is secure: The greatest in Cal history.
And if you only remember her for one game, it's a doozy. When nobody else could score, it was Layshia who sank shot after shot, willing the Bears back against Georgia in the Spokane Regional Final with 25 points. The Bears wouldn't have made the Final Four without her. But we already knew that. Throughout the season she proved herself as a leader, both tangible and intangible. Is it normal for your leading scorer to also be your glue? I don't know, but that's how her teammates described her.
When Joanne Boyle left for Virginia, Clarendon helped hold the team together. She quickly became the go-to player for Lindsay Gottlieb. And yet her off-the-court record is perhaps even more impressive. She was the conference academic player of the year and a senior class award nominee in part because of her volunteer work. She's as well-rounded a player as I can recall, and has never felt the need to publicize her accomplishments. Perhaps that's why the push to win her the Senior CLASS award was so strong.
Her combination of team, individual, academic and community achievement is as strong an argument for CGB Hall of Fame enshrinement as there can be. #Vote4Layshia.
Jocelyn struck out 15 and one-hit Arizona, 2-1. And she didn't stop for a month straight. In the NCAA regionals she pitched every inning, had a 0.87 ERA, and Cal went 4-0. In the World Series the same thing happened: every inning, 4-0, 0.50 ERA, most outstanding player of the tournament. And again she one-hit Arizona, this time for the national title. It was Cal's first NCAA women's championship in any sport. "Winning was just so awesome," says Jocelyn. "We were unstoppable."
Incredible. Want to know what makes it even more than incredible?
HolmoePhobe: That Arizona game was one week after her sister was murdered... Read that whole Reilly SI piece. Check out some of the highlights from the title game where Forest outdueled Jennie Finch. And if you have some spare time, take a look at this story from the Collegian to find out how Forest has made the transition to pitching coach for Penn State softball. You've gotta feel for her.
After graduating from Cal, she competed professionally in the NPF while also conducting pitching and strength/conditioning seminars for young girls.
In her own words:
"Teach your kids how to be part of a bigger picture and a common goal. Teach them that their role, no matter the role, is important to the teams goal. Give them the tools to play their part. If you are a player pull your team together and remind them of their love for the game. Remind them that there's no better feeling than working together to win. Practice hard and support your teammates. Do the job you are given as best you can. Prepare with all of your effort for the time when your role is even bigger. And if you've already got a big role respect your teammate who is ready when you need her. Be champions. Respect each other, play for each other, win for each other.
When you do that, your future will take care of itself. "
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