Molly Lavin stars for both school and country
After a summer with the British National Team, the sophomore forward looks to build on a strong first year
With over 100 countries represented within the American University student body, it only makes sense that AU’s athletic programs house many international athletes. Some of these athletes are selected to represent their country in international competitions as well.
Sophomore and international student Molly Lavin represented her country on the Great Britain national basketball team at the FIBA Under-20 Women’s European Championships in Romania this past summer.
Lavin, a 6’2” forward from the City of London Academy, previously represented Great Britain at the under-16 and under-18 levels before her call-up this summer. Along with over 40 players, Lavin was invited to the first camp, and she was eventually one of 12 athletes selected to the final team that competed in the tournament.
In six games at the tournament, Lavin averaged 8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 2 steals per game, headlined by an 18-point, 10-rebound, 3-steal performance against Greece. Her 8.8 rebounds per game were good for ninth in the tournament.
Lavin credits her career at American with helping her prepare for the tournament. “I feel like coming here definitely improved my basketball IQ,” she said. “I learned a lot the first year, especially defensively. Coach Tiff[any Coll] is pretty precise about all of the different defensive positioning. And that was useful going back because I ended up teaching some of my teammates certain rules.”
While there are some differences between basketball in Europe and the U.S. — Lavin cited the physicality and the more team-oriented style of play in Europe as two of the biggest — she said her time with the national team and ability to get game time at a high level during the summer also helped her prepare for this coming season.
As a freshman, Lavin appeared in every game for the Eagles, starting one. She averaged 4.9 points and 3.9 rebounds in just under 15 minutes per game. Her 32.7 percent accuracy shooting from 3-point range was good for second on the team, and her 3.9 rebounds per game were fourth on the team.
“It meant a lot,” Lavin said about appearing in every game. “I knew it was going to be hard as a freshman and you’ve got to prove yourself. And to have minutes like that, I feel like would be really useful for my experience, and I’m hoping I can grow off of that and it can give me confidence that I can bring more and more to the team.”
“I think it really greatly shows the coaches’ confidence in her, because not a lot of people come in as a freshman and get a lot of playing time,” graduate student Lauren Stack said about Lavin. Lavin credits upperclassmen such as Stack and senior Emily Johns, both of whom play the same position as Lavin, with helping her adjust to basketball in the United States.
“It’s been so useful because I really learn a lot from Lauren and EJ,” Lavin said. “In practice they’ll come over and tell me stuff; like I’ll go up to them and ask them questions because I know that they have a lot of experience so they teach me a lot.”
Stack said she “really enjoys acting as a mentor” to Lavin and calls her “one of the hardest workers on the team.”
An anthropology major, Lavin was named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll for the spring semester, but there is a side of her that the court and the classroom don’t see. Stack called Lavin a goofball and one of her favorite people to hang out with off of the court. “I constantly text her stupid stuff throughout the day, because that’s just our relationship,” Stack said. “And you wouldn’t know it necessarily because she’s more of a quiet person on the basketball court.”
On the court, the sky's the limit for the sophomore. “I feel like I’ve seen Molly come into herself a lot more,” Stack said. “I think she’s playing a lot more confidently than she was when she first came in and I just think she’s overall a lot more sure of herself.”
With a roster which retains all but two players from last season, Lavin said this has made her and the team more hungry to win. “You have to work for it,” Lavin said. “I want to have the mindset that I’m good enough to make it, but you still have to work and prove yourself.”
This article was edited by Penelope Jennings, Delaney Hoke and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis and Olivia Citarella.