Dayton Flyers point guard Patrice Lalor hasn’t been talked about much as a prospect for the 2012 WNBA Draft (Monday, April 16th on ESPN2), perhaps in part because of the conference she plays in or maybe because she hasn’t put up gaudy numbers during her career.
But fellow senior and teammate Justine Raterman says her value as a point guard goes well beyond what we can quantify.
“The stats don’t always show up but I know Coach [Jim] Jabir has always said that, we kind of go when she does,” said Justine Raterman in an interview with Swish Appeal. “I think that our entire team was much more comfortable with her on the floor. There was a sense of comfort when she was on the floor, when the ball was in her hands. Our confidence as a team on the floor really picked up and we fed off of her abilities.”
Yet when you compare Lalor’s numbers to the point guards available in the 2012 WNBA Draft she might be worthy of consideration and her career wasn’t without statistical highlights.
Her 2.1 assist to turnover ratio was second in the Atlantic 10 conference this year and a Dayton program record as is her career 1.62 assist to turnover ratio. Raterman has been a primary beneficiary of Lalor’s play over the course of her career as Dayton’s career scoring leader and the team’s leader in 3-pointers made (48) and her non-statistical insights are valuable as well.
“In her senior year, she was a really good decision maker, she had a lot of different abilities to be able to score on her own with her pullup jumpshot or getting to the rim,” said Raterman, who is on the draft radar of a few teams. “She did a really good job of getting inside the paint and drawing two or three defenders and finding the open player. And I think that was a huge key for our success.”
Having seen Dayton play a few times over the last couple of years, I had an opportunity to speak directly to Lalor just yesterday about her game, the 2012 WNBA Draft, and – perhaps most interestingly – who she models her game off of.
Interview with Patrice Lalor
Swish Appeal: What players have you modeled your game after throughout your career?
Patrice Lalor: Throughout my career, I modeled my game after Temeka Johnson and Lindsey Harding. Their ability to handle the basketball with confidence, pass the ball at the right times, and score all over on the court is what I have tried to model my game after. Temeka Johnson is of very similar build as me and also very quick and explosive. I have worked on getting more explosive to be able to score in similar ways to Temeka, especially using my speed as an advantage.
SA: What do you think you need to improve upon to make a WNBA roster?
PL: To make a WNBA roster I believe that I need to improve on attacking the rim and finishing and also shooting the 3-pt shot with better consistency. One of my strengths is being able to shoot the mid-range pull up jump shot and being able to attack the basket will make it harder for the defensive guard me and in turn open up more for myself as well as my teammates. Also, improving my 3-pt shot would allow the driving lane to open because defenders would have to guard me on the 3-pt line.
SA: Have WNBA teams been showing interest in you leading up to the draft?
PL: So far there have not been any WNBA teams showing interest in me leading up to the draft that I am aware of.
SA: What about Dayton’s offense or coaching has allowed you to flourish?
PL: Dayton’s offense, which is a continuous high ball screen offense, has allowed me to flourish at my mid-range pull-up game. The high ball screen has allowed me to create and either attack the basket, look for my own shot, or pass to a teammate. Being explosive and able to really come off of the screen and create space to either shoot, create, or pass has allowed me to flourish in Dayton’s offense.
SA: How have coaches at Dayton suggested you balance your responsibilities as a distributor and scorer? Are there times when they asked you drive more or shoot less in order to run the offense?
PL: They have suggested that I “go until someone stops me” and when that happens, pass to the open player. They suggested that I look to be a scorer until defensive help comes and then I make the extra pass to the open person. Yes, there are times when they asked me to drive more and get to the rim instead of shooting a pull up jumper. They have asked me to run the offense and get a couple of reversals in order to run the offense.
SA: What style of play do you feel bests suits your game?
PL: Something that allows me to create, where I have the ability to create off the dribble or to create and then dish or find the open player and get the rest of my teammates involved.
SA: What have you been doing since the end of the season?
PL: For two weeks I worked out with our assistant coach, coach [Adeniyi Amadou]. And then I went to the (WNBA) combine in Denver at the Final Four. Since then I’ve been working out on the side.
SA: What are some of the things that you feel you bring to a team as a point guard being that a lot of people haven’t seen you?
PL: I have the ability to score quickly or hit the open shot and also pass it to the open player and get my teammates open shots. I have the ability to make the rest of the team better as well.
For more on how Lalor might compare to other higher profile point guards in the 2012 WNBA Draft, visit our statistical list of prospects. For more on the 2012 WNBA Draft – including a look at what might make a successful point guard prospect – visit our “WNBA Draft 2012” section.