Soon Alexis Gray-Lawson, Cal's all time leader in games played and three point FGs will hopefully get the chance to take her skills to the next level. The WNBA draft is on April 8th on ESPN 2 at noon and Lexi is considered a potential draftee. Thanks to Q McCall for giving CGB the chance to contribute some insight to her bio page for the Minnesota Lynx on WNBA.com. To that end, we answered a few questions to give interested parties a better idea of who Alexis Gray-Lawson is and what she can bring to a WNBA team next year. CGB wishes Lexi the best wherever she ends up - and we're sure that team will be very lucky to have her!
Gray-Lawson is playing perhaps the best basketball of her career right now, with games of 40+ points. What can you attribute her success to?
Gray-Lawson has had the ability to take over games for periods of time in previous seasons, but she was rarely the first scoring option when Ashley Walker emerged as an elite player when Gray-Lawson injured her knee in the 2006-07 season. With Walker leading Cal in scoring Gray-Lawson became more of a distributor to Cal’s successful low-post players and recorded nearly a 2-1 assist to turnover ratio in 2008-09. With Walker and Devanei Hampton graduating, the offensive burden fell to Gray-Lawson. At times the transition was difficult this year as Gray-Lawson adjusted to playing with five freshman and to being the clear number one threat on the Golden Bears. But when Pac-10 play started Gray-Lawson took over, combining her outside shooting talent with a hard nosed ability to drive the ball and draw fouls, and she led the conference in scoring during the Pac-10 schedule. I would attribute the scoring explosion to Gray-Lawson getting comfortable in her new role and more cohesion with the aforementioned freshmen.
What about Gray-Lawson's game stands out to you? What's her biggest strength? At the next level, what will be her biggest asset?
I believe her biggest asset will be her versatility. There isn’t one aspect of Gray-Lawson’s game that really stands out as elite, but at the same time there aren’t any major holes in her game either. She has a consistent jump shot, good ball handling skills and excellent body control when she drives the lane. Her height and size wouldn’t indicate an ability to consistently rebound but she has good court sense and tends to get herself in the right place to come down with the ball. She’s Cal’s best, most consistent on-the-ball defender and rarely allows her assignment to get around her. She recently set a Cal record for most games started in a career, and I believe that the amount of experience she’s gained at the collegiate levels with a variety of expectations and surrounding talent from year to year have been invaluable in preparing her for the challenges of the WNBA.
How has her game developed over her four-year career at Cal?
Gray-Lawson’s career trajectory was altered when she suffered a season ending ACL injury that ended her sophomore campaign. She led Cal in scoring her freshman year, but came back from her injury as more of a distributor. With a decreased focus from opposing defenses she improved her shooting percentage and assists with decreased turnovers in her 2nd and 3rd full seasons. Now in her senior season she’s shown an impressive ability to adapt her game to the team’s needs. In addition to a big jump in minutes, shots and drawn fouls that’s led to greatly increased scoring, Gray-Lawson has shown an impressive improvement in her rebounding (5.5/game). In a broader sense, Gray-Lawson has shown remarkable patience and composure dealing with the growing pains of a massive reloading of Cal’s program and the responsibility of carrying the team. In the process Gray-Lawson’s clutch performances during her senior season have been the difference between victory and defeat in at least four or five games.