MORGANTOWN — Should you can’t beat ’em, be part of ’em, proper? That’s the saying.
Effectively, WVU girls’s basketball guard Lauren Fields blew that considering proper out of the water in April, when she signed to play this season with the Mountaineers.
Fields, a 5-foot-9 guard from Shawnee, Okla., has already overwhelmed WVU, doing so in March when Arizona knocked the Mountaineers out of the NCAA match with a 75-62 victory.
Now she’s becoming a member of WVU in her closing season of eligibility, having signed with new head coach Mark Kellogg and his workers.
“Over the summer season, I believed so much about that query, is it going to be bizarre once I get there?” Fields mentioned Wednesday. “Actually, the transition has been actual easy.”
She admits there’s been a couple of jokes made concerning the state of affairs, however her WVU teammates have welcomed her with open arms.
“It’s been good for me,” Fields mentioned. “A big cause for that has been my teammates. They’ve made me really feel welcomed. Actually, they’ve made me really feel like I’ve performed right here for all 5 years.”
If Fields’ title sounds acquainted, it ought to. Previous to her one season at Arizona, she performed three seasons at Oklahoma State.
OSU went 3-4 in opposition to WVU throughout Fields’ profession there, though she missed one of many matchups with an damage.
Her profession at Oklahoma State noticed her have her greatest particular person season in 2021-22, when she averaged 15.4 factors per sport to complete second staff all-Large 12.
It’s that precise model of Fields that Kellogg desires to see in Morgantown this season.
“She’s a wing who can shoot the three and put it on the ground,” Kellogg mentioned. “She’s fairly good on the mid-range, too, which is type of a misplaced artwork. She’s an outstanding defender. She is lively, lively, lively on the defensive finish. She’s fairly full proper now.”
How Kellogg was capable of signal Fields out of the switch portal is a narrative of getting good connections.
WVU assistant coach Erin Grant was an assistant at Arizona final season, whereas WVU assistant coach Jessica Grayson coached Fields at Oklahoma State.
WVU guard Zya Nugent was additionally an AAU teammate with Fields once they have been each in highschool.
“We had two coaches who had coached her and a teammate who was her teammate at one level,” Kellogg mentioned. “We had some connections, however she was one of many first ones we recruited.”
WVU’s affiliation with the Large 12 didn’t harm, both.
“I’m from Oklahoma, so it was laborious for household to return out and see me play in Arizona,” Fields mentioned. “(WVU), being within the Large 12 we’ll play video games nearer to house. I do know the play within the Large 12. That is my final 12 months, so I wished to make the perfect of it, so being again within the Large 12 was part of it.”
By most accounts, Fields has developed into one of many Mountaineers’ high scoring threats together with guard J.J. Quinerly.
She did battle together with her shot at Arizona, although, taking pictures simply 28% from the sphere, the bottom since her freshman season.
“She’s been actually good,” Kellogg mentioned. “She’s a incredible child. She’s quiet, however not a nasty quiet. Her and Jordan (Harrison) have been working fairly nicely collectively once they’re on the identical staff. I feel she’s going to have her greatest 12 months. I don’t know if she’ll common 15 factors like she did at Oklahoma State, however her effectivity goes to go up. She nonetheless scores the ball fairly nicely. She’ll have some large nights.”
Kellogg mentioned Quinerly injured her ankle in apply and was compelled to sit down out each of the staff’s closed-door scrimmages.
“She’s getting back from that damage,” Kellogg mentioned. “We predict she’ll be obtainable subsequent Tuesday. She’s missed somewhat little bit of time, however the expectation is she’ll be again right here fairly quickly.”
Quinerly was a first-team all-Large 12 participant final season, averaging 14.5 factors per sport.