Lauren Aldridge started every game during her two seasons at Kansas, so she should have been happy when this school year began. It signaled an end to her time sitting out as a transfer to the Missouri women’s basketball team. No more playing on the scout team.
Instead she spent her first week of classes crying.
“It’s true,” said her mother, Jennifer Aldridge. “We got lots of phone calls that first week.”
Basketball wasn’t the problem. Contracts class was. Still is, really. Lauren Aldridge, a junior on the basketball court who earned a bachelor’s in political science in July, finds her contracts class ambiguous and “not fun at all” — especially while she balances her first year of law school with her first year playing for Mizzou.
“First year can be demanding, especially when students aren’t familiar with the study of law,” said her contracts professor, Brook Gotberg. “It takes longer to read cases.”
Mizzou coach Robin Pingeton said Aldridge is her first player to attend law school while playing for her team, and the guard, who averaged 11.1 points per game in her sophomore year at KU, should have a prominent role for Mizzou. The Tigers lost three prominent perimeter players from a season ago, including starting point guard Lindsey Cunningham.
“The biggest challenge for her is time management,” Pingeton said. “But if anyone can do it, Lauren can.”
As for the crying …
“We have since recovered,” Lauren Aldridge said. “It’s like having to become a new normal for me. Very, very time consuming. My days start at 6 in the morning, go ’til about 11 at night. But all of it’s been great.”
Aldridge, who wants to work in athletic administration, said she considered pursuing a master’s in political science, but it would have required just a year to finish, and she has two years of eligibility remaining. So she opted for law school, which she said she had always wanted to attend, though she hadn’t thought she would do so while playing basketball.
Her professors and coaches both must be flexible. Her mother said the law school plans to accommodate Aldridge during road trips by Skyping her into lectures or providing recordings, and it will be OK if she leaves a community function early to do more reading.
“The amount of reading she’s having to do is just incredible,” said Jennifer, whose daughter has always been somewhat of a perfectionist. As a girl, Lauren used to wake her family up in their Marshfield, Mo., home as she performed ball-handling drills just after 6 a.m.
Aldridge, a former All-Big 12 freshman-team selection decided to transfer in part because of matters relating to the transition after coach Bonnie Henrickson was fired at Kansas, she told The Star in April 2016. And Aldridge has a chance to win at Mizzou, something KU struggled to do during her time in Lawrence. She said representing her home state “feels different,” even if she didn’t grow up a Mizzou fan.
After sitting out last season, Aldridge had forgotten how exciting it felt to prepare for games. But the season, which begins with an exhibition against Southwest Baptist on Nov. 2, also presents a predicament.
With practice time increasing, Aldridge texted her mother on Wednesday night and said she again had to figure out how to balance her schedule.