Laryn Edwards Goes From Coach To Player For Providence Women's Basketball Team

NEW YORK (AP) — Laryn Edwards admitted she was a little nervous before stepping onto the court for Providence's game at Columbia on Wednesday morning.

It's hard to blame her since it was Edwards' first game in 20 months.

She graduated from Loyola, Md., in 2022 after playing four years there and still had eligibility left since the NCAA granted all players an extra year because of COVID-19. She also had a redshirt year after playing only seven games as a freshman at Loyola because of an injury.

“I went into the transfer portal and wasn’t thinking it was going to be my last game,” Edwards said of her final game for the Greyhounds in 2022.

When she didn't get any offers she liked, she decided to become a coach and accepted a job at Providence as a graduate assistant later that year. She never had discussions with the old Providence staff about playing, but when Erin Batth took over the program this year, Edwards thought why not broach the subject.

“I mentioned it to coach and it went from there," Edwards said. "She said ‘do you want to play?’ and I said yes, so here I am today.”

Batth felt that Edwards could provide some veteran leadership at the point guard position for the Friars.

“She’s wonderful, she’s great,” Batth said of Edwards. “She has eligibility and is a great player and provides some valuable experience, why the heck not?”

It took a few weeks for the Providence compliance staff to make sure that Edwards was eligible to play for the Friars. There was some precedent as Edwards, who is getting an MBA at Providence, isn’t the only player to take this circuitous route back to playing. Danielle Rauch at Clemson did something similar, although she started playing for the Tigers at the beginning of the season instead of a month in after being a graduate assistant last season.

Edwards got cleared a day before the team was set to take on Columbia. Edwards played about seven minutes in the loss, grabbing an offensive rebound and missing her only shot attempt.

“It’s been awesome to have this opportunity again since not many people get the chance to play basketball again after the end,” Edwards said. “This is the best opportunity I could ask for and I thank coach for giving me this chance.”

Edwards had been running the scout team for the Friars and knew her job was to get the players better by providing defense and energy. That won't change with her playing again.

“I'm here to try and help them get better,” she said.

One thing that will change for Edwards from her first game will be her number. She wore 35 against Columbia but will change to 99 for the remainder of the season.

“This year you can pick any number you wanted and I was born in 99 so I was like, why not?” Edwards said “My mom was like, I love it.”

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AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball