Student-Athlete Spotlight - Shawnda Atwood
By Brent Waugh
Shawnda Atwood glides her brush across the canvas. The work in front of her today is an abstract, with carefully placed strokes of black, red and yellow.
Atwood works for some time, taking breaks only to retrieve paint or to clean her brush. She’s absorbed, hardly speaking as she puts the finishing touches on her painting. The senior guard admits her intensity and focus in the studio is similar to her demeanor on the basketball court.
“It’s pretty intense when I’m working in the studio,” Atwood said. “Traits on the court transcend to how I am off the court.”
Atwood, a graphic design major, thinks of herself as more of an athlete than an artist. But, she says she looks forward to her time in the studio. “It relaxes me. It puts me in a solitude, a quiet place where I can just focus on creating great work,” she says.
Her teammate, senior forward Chequilla Jessie, says Atwood brings a similar focus and passion to the Eagles’ line-up. “If we have a game or anything, I always want her on my team because she’s a winner,” Jessie says. “She’s a hard worker. She just goes out there and puts it on the line.”
Atwood’s intensity on the court is paying off the third-year starter from Pensacola, Fla., leads her team in both points and rebounds. She’s also among the team leaders in steals, blocked shots, three pointers made and field goal percentage.
And despite fighting through a recurring hip injury suffered during her freshman year, Atwood has played in almost every game in four years with the Eagles.
“She’s just a very talented young lady,” head coach Rusty Cram says. “She shows up ready to play; she likes a good challenge. She’s going to fight through pain she’s going to fight through injuries.”
Atwood’s teammate and coaches applaud her talent on the court and in the studio, although they do have one complaint about Atwood the artist.
“She’s the stingiest artist I know,” Jessie says, laughing. “I have no artwork from her and I’ve been begging all semester. I want some artwork.”
“She’ll paint me something before she leaves here I hope,” Cram says.
As she washes her brushes and folds up the easel, Atwood says the piece she’s working on today will hang in her living room.
Once she gets just the right colors and a break from basketball and class, she’ll start working on that painting for Jessie’s living room. And after that, maybe even one for coach Cram.
- Category: Women's Basketball
- Published on Wednesday, 30 January 2008 00:29