Senior Spotlight: Women's Basketball Class of 2011
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Mike McLaughlin
This article appeared in the Feb. 2011 edition of Lions Den.

Senior co-captains Kathleen Barry and Lauren Dwyer have been members of record-breaking Columbia women’s basketball teams throughout their careers. As first-years, they were contributors on the first Lions’ team to finish an Ivy League season with a .500 record, and two years later were integral parts of the best NCAA Division I team in Columbia women’s basketball history (18-10 record, 9-5 in the Ivy League).

This season, both student-athletes have helped a youthful Lions bunch overcome a slow start and remain competitive in the Ivy League. Columbia's win over Penn on Feb. 25 marked the 27th conference victory for the class of 2011, the most of any senior class in program history.

With just two games remaining in both players’ careers, Barry and Dwyer took time out of their schedules to sit down with and answer a few reflective questions on their four seasons on Morningside Heights.

Looking back on your three-plus years as a Columbia student-athlete, what were the most memorable games of your career?

Dwyer: My first start freshman year (against Hartford), I was so insanely nervous that I actually don't remember much of the game itself except the constant feeling of nerves. My sophomore year when we beat Harvard was one of our most memorable wins because of how much it mattered and the inevitable Ivy rivalry between the two teams and the exciting finish. And of course, my junior year against Robert Morris -- last second shots are definitely good memories!

My most memorable game was going home to play in San Diego this year.  I played high school conference championship games at the USD arena, so getting to play there again as a college senior in front of family and friends meant a lot to me and kind of brought my basketball experiences full circle.

Q: What aspect of the game of basketball do you enjoy the most? And what first got you involved with it at an early age?

D: I love that everyone has to do everything, which means that you always have an opportunity to make up for a mistake you may have made. This makes it easier to have a short memory when it comes to mistakes since you can look forward to the next chance to do something great. And the first thing that got me involved was when I was 3, we moved to Portland, Maine and the new house had a basketball hoop from the previous owner. The rest is history.

B: Right now, I love those plays when I feel completely in sync with my teammates, like when Melissa Shafer throws me a perfect long pass for a breakaway layup.  When I was younger, I got involved in basketball because I was so competitive about everything that basketball was the perfect outlet.

How have you been able to handle the balance of academics and basketball, and what advice would you give an incoming first-year student-athlete about how to deal with the stresses of both?

D: I learned I couldn't do everything to the extent I would like to (there are not enough hours in the day) so I made sure to accomplish what is most important to me so I wouldn't feel like I was neglecting anything. I think figuring out your priorities is the most important thing so you don't look back wishing you had done something different; rather, you can be satisfied with the informed decisions you made and put your full effort into those.

B: Balancing the stresses of school and basketball hasn't been too hard because I've never thought of basketball as a stressor.  I would tell an incoming first year to remember what an amazing gift it is to get to play college basketball at Columbia.  Practice should be a chance to escape from everything else for a few hours every day.

What are your plans once the season/school year is over?

D: After the season is over, Kathleen and I will devote our last legs to an intense intramural volleyball tournament. After that, if I can still walk, I'll continue my search for a job in sports marketing.

B: When the season ends, I'll enjoy lots of rest!  After graduation, I'm planning on more school to become a high school math teacher back in California.