Sophomore Woods juggles basketball, parenthood
Published: Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 23:01
Erica Woods, sophomore sports management and marketing major, is a key piece to the 12-6 record the Marshall University women's basketball team has posted this season.
Woods, originally from St. George's, Bermuda, has been living in the United States since 2007 and has attended Marshall since 2009.
Woods first stop was the IMG academy in Bradenton, Fla.
"I really liked IMG in Florida," Woods said. "It was a new experience, but I had a lot of fun learning at the basketball academy."
Woods played in 25 games as a true freshman in 2009, but was forced to sit out the entire 2010 season due to a pregnancy. Zion Woods, Erica's son, is 11 months old.
"He (Zion) is my number one priority," Woods said.
Woods said the year she was forced to sit out has actually made her a better student of the game.
"While I sat out that year, I attended a lot of home games, and I began to study my opponents and gained a better understanding about everything that was going on within the game from an outside perspective," Woods said. "I've also become a better teammate. With me being a mom now, I'm more nurturing to the younger players because I have been there before. I've become a better leader."
Royce Chadwick, head coach for the Marshall women's team has also noticed the maturation and leadership of Woods.
"When it comes to Erica, I'm most impressed with her adaptability," Chadwick said, "She is extremely versatile and has played three different positions for our team. She can play inside and out and do both with tremendous effectiveness. She is a team leader and plays the game with great composure and poise. She is an outstanding leader sets the tone for her practice play as she leads by example."
Woods participated in the European Champion Games in 2009 representing the Great Britain Under 20 women's team that placed ninth in the tournament. When asked if she would like to represent her country in the 2012 London Olympics, Woods said she remained optimistic about her chances.
"My original intentions were to play, but obviously I have a son now," Woods said. "I'm really just doing the school and basketball thing right now, trying to be a good student athlete and an even better mom, but if I had the chance to play, I would love the opportunity."
Woods was recruited as guard and played guard during her freshman year, but has now moved to a forward spot and plays in the post. She leads the team with 6.4 rebounds per game.
"I just want to do anything I can to help the team," Woods said. "They have me down there playing with the trees, but I'm a guard at heart."
Ed Geth, Marshall women's assistant coach, said he is proud of every member of the team, but he was particularly impressed with the work that Woods has done inside the post this season.
"Erica Woods has done a good job stepping in and rebounding," Geth said. "All of our converted guards have done a good job. The quickness of our post players gives us the ability to create mismatches in the post."
Erica Woods and the women's basketball team are in action this weekend. The Herd plays at 8 p.m. Thursday at Memphis and at 3 p.m. Sunday at Tulane.
Lawren Hightower can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.