Catching up with Lauren Engeln
Engeln is sitting out this season because of NCAA transfer regulations but she able to practice with the Eagles. Engeln admitted that not being able to play this year is not the easiest thing but it is worth the wait so she can have two seasons where she will be able to earn more playing time than she would have at UConn.
"It is different, I am not used to it," Engeln said.
Engeln had a total of 78 points, 43 rebounds, 11 assists, 12 steals and four blocked shots while averaging 6.6 minutes her 55 games at UConn. With only Tiffany Hayes graduating and three talented freshmen coming in, Engeln came to the same conclusion that her former UConn teammate Michala Johnson came to.
"You work hard and you want to play," Engeln said. "Being at UConn, I loved every second. I don't regret anything, it was a great experience and it came down to me wanting to play. I think the coaches totally understand that. They are awesome over there, I love them."
Johnson decided to transfer in Wisconsin where she will be able to play with her younger sister. In August Engeln made the decision to leave UConn.
"I really wasn't thinking about it until later on in summer school and I had to be more realistic with it," Engeln said. "(It was) not really looking at the roster but just knowing how things were the past two years I just knew I wouldn't be getting the minutes that I would like to play so I just had to do it for myself."
A native of Laguna Hills, Calif., there was a thought that Engeln would head back out west to finish her collegiate career. However, her AAU coach Russ Davis spoke highly of new Boston College head coach Erik Johnson and the relationship was only strengthened when Lisa Faulkner, who played for Davis at Vanguard University, was hired as an assistant coach at BC.
"I thought about going back home but I figured for my four years of college I might as well stay out here and experience it," Engeln said. "I don't think I will ever end up out here (after graduation) but for college it was a great experience.
"I didn't know the coaches at all. I sent my release out to a bunch of schools. Russ Davis helped me out with all of this and he knows Erik Johnson. Erik is a great coach, I came here and talked to him and I just loved it."
Boston College loses only guard Kerri Shields after this season. Engeln and DePaul transfer Karima Gabriel are hoping to come in and make an immediate impact when they become eligible.
"I am practicing, trying to do stuff with the team outside of basketball, getting in extra workouts," Engeln said. (Gabriel) is redshirting this year so it is nice to have one other person to talk to about it."
Johnson has high hopes for Engeln when she is able to play beginning next season.
"We are excited to get Lauren, not just for the future but for right now," Johnson said. "Obviously she is going to be a really successful player for us but her energy, she loves the game and she brings a passion for basketball that was much needed for this team. Our team had a tough year through the coaching change and kids were kind of learning to love the game again and Lauren infused energy into the program from the day she stepped onto (campus).
"I think she really wanted to be able to make an impact on a program and be able to get out on the court and show what they can do. I think she is chomping at the bit so yeah, it will be like she is being released from a cage when they finally let her put a uniform back on. We need her physical stature to compete at this level. Lauren is excited and we are trying to get her ready so she looks like a returner."
Engeln's former teammates Stefanie Dolson, Caroline Doty and Bria Hartley came up to BC to visit Engeln and she is planning to return the favor later this month to celebrate Dolson's birthday so while Engeln is no longer a Husky, the relationships she formed and memories won't be fading away in the near future.
"It changed me as a person in such a good way," Engeln said. "I love everything about the coaches, they taught me a lot about life, how to act as a person on the court and off the court. It was an awesome experience."
Engeln admits it's a bit surreal that Dolson and Hartley are the only remaining players from UConn's original five-player recruiting class.
"It is weird," Engeln said. "I still talk to Samarie (Walker, who transferred to Kentucky) and Michala and it is working out for everybody right now. The number one thing is you want to be happy, you want to play."