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By GOOSE LINDSAY
Former Oliver Springs standout Laura Hall is one step closer to living out her dream and playing in the WNBA.
Hall, who recently finished her playing career at Chattanooga, received a phone call from Connecticut Sun head coach Mike Thibault Monday offering her a chance to try out for the team. Hall accepted the invitation and will be leaving Saturday to attend training camp.
“I’m excited,” Hall said about the opportunity to make an WNBA team. “Coach Thibault called me and told me they needed a guard. Their starting point guard (Lindsay Whalen) is coming back and they’ve got another point guard that played there last year but she hasn’t signed a contract yet. Coach Thibault said they would be keeping three point guards so I like to think I have a chance of making the team.”
Hall enters her tryout playing the best basketball of her career. Hall was named the Southern Conference Player of the Month for March with her strong play in the Southern Conference Tournament and NCAA Tournament loss against Kansas State.
In four postseason games, Hall averaged 16 points and 3.8 assists for the Lady Mocs. In the Southern Conference Championship game, Hall had 22 points and 4 assists and she followed that with 19 points against Kansas State.
Hall’s big game against Kansas State was played at Bridgeport, Conn. and that helped her get recognized by the Sun. It also didn’t hurt that Connecticut’s first round draft pick, Amber Holt, played at MTSU under Hall’s AAU coach Rick Insell.
“I know they watched me play against Kansas State and I had a pretty good game plus I had a good conference tournament,” Hall said. “I also know coach Insell talked with coach Thibault about me after they drafted Amber Holt. Coach Insell told me he thinks I can make it.”
Hall will be one of 20 players vying for 12 spots on the Sun roster and she will be the smallest player (5’4”, 120 pounds) at the tryouts, but overcoming a so-called size disadvantage is nothing new to Hall.
Coming out of junior high, many believed Hall wasn’t big enough to be effective at the high school level. Size didn’t matter, however, as Hall ended her high school career with 2,474 points and more than 600 assists. She was a three-time all-state selection and was a finalist for the 2003 TSSAA Class AA Miss Basketball Award.
The lack of size was again supposed to limit Hall in college, but she started her first game as a freshman and never looked back. During four years at Chattanooga, Hall scored 972 points and is ranked seventh all-time for 3-pointers made with 145 and sixth on the UTC career charts with 429 assists. She also pulled down 308 rebounds from her guard position.
She is a three-time all-conference team member and she was also named to the Southern Conference all-freshman team in 2005.
“Everybody has always said I’m too little and maybe they’re right,” Hall said when asked about being two inches shorter and 15 pounds lighter than anyone else listed on Connecticut’s roster. “I am undersized and that means I have to do everything well. I’m going to have to shoot well, take care of the ball but most of all I’ve got to hustle and play hard.
“But no matter what happens, it’s still pretty big and not many people get the chance to play in the WNBA.”