|11 April 2014|
By Paul Nilsen
|Lawson-Wade (front centre) at a EuroLeague Women general manager's meeting in Ekaterinburg earlier this week|
After a glittering playing career on both sides of the pond and also for Les Bleus, Edwige Lawson-Wade hung up her basketball shoes and retired last year and yet has never been busier.
Making the transition from regularly running the plays on the court, the guard made the switch from the locker room to the back office of Basket Lattes Montpellier Agglomeration where she is now approaching the end of her first season as General Manager.
"It has proven even more interesting than I had expected and I am blessed to be doing what I love and it is the next best position after playing the game," she said with an accompanying smile.
"However, I still have a lot to learn and it's like a lot of other people's jobs, you have to have the passion because of all the things others don't see which you have to deal with under the surface."
After a perfect start, BLMA faded quickly on their EuroLeague Women return and Lawson-Wade freely admitted they hadn't quite managed to achieve what they had been hoping for.
She confessed, "We realise that we were probably lacking that one player who could carry the team on her shoulders when needed.
"We were also a little naïve in terms of the mistakes we made in games against the likes of Brno and Sopron, when we should have won."
|Lawson-Wade has gone from playing for BLMA, to taking a key role on the sideline, as the club's general manager, in just her first year into retirement|
As well as her new journey off the court in Montpellier, Lawson-Wade is also currently getting to grips with the honour of being a FIBA Europe Women's Basketball Ambassador and it's a role she is thoroughly relishing.
"When I was younger I had no idea what the highest or the professional level even was and I am grateful to now have an opportunity to spread the word about women's basketball and to help young women players to dream," she explained.
"I guess I am walking evidence for those young players that dreams can come true.
"People talk about the women's basketball ambassadors as being legends and that isn't something I have ever been described as previously.
"It actually makes me feel proud of my playing career when I hear this type of word being used and maybe it wasn't too bad after all," laughed the former guard.
Spending the week in Ekaterinburg at the EuroLeague Women Final Eight, Lawson-Wade is thrilled to have watched Tango Bourges make it to the last four of the competition - even if they are her main rivals domestically.
She said, "The whole of France is behind them right now and the Director of the Women's League has been here all of the time to support them.
"For me, I think they have shown the true identity of French basketball with their hard defence."
|Lawson-Wade points to Céline Dumerc as the key player if Bourges are to cause something of an upset and defeat Fenerbahce in Friday's second semi-final|
Like everyone else heading to the DIVS Arena, Lawson-Wade can't wait for their semi-final clash against Fenerbahce.
"I don't think we have seen Fenerbahce show their true self yet and so it is very exciting, because right now anything looks possible - especially with the team chemistry of Bourges.
"[Celine] Dumerc is obviously the key piece, although I do believe that Fenerbahce will have to stop Endene Miyem and overall, maybe the depth of the Turkish team gives them an advantage."
As for who Bourges or Fenerbahce might play in the Final on Sunday - there isn't a whole lot of doubt according to the Rennes native.
"When you watch UMMC play, you realise that you have to be at your best as a team both individually and collectively to even have a slim chance," she declared.
"Even then, they probably also have to miss a lot of their shots.
"It will be very difficult for Galatasaray and I can't believe that Candace Parker and Diana Taurasi won't be at their best when it matters most, since these are the kind of games they live to play for.
"Slowing UMMC down is the key, but they are just so well prepared and their defence and rebounding is always going to let them get out and run.
"I actually also think their coaching staff make just as much of a difference as their star players," she added.
"They work so hard and have incredible scouting reports. It's absolutely no co-incidence their preparation is so good and so are their results and performances."