The LSU women’s basketball team has had one of the best defenses in the country all season.
LSU has a team full of sophomores and juniors. Their future looks bright, but a lone senior is what holds them together — senior guard Shanice Norton.
“Leadership for me plays a huge role in keeping the team together,” Norton said. “Being a leader and being the only senior, it has given me the position of being the glue. Defensively, coach Nikki [Fargas] gives me that role, to lead with my defense. Our defense is what pushes our offense.”
Norton is one of the starting guards on the team. She does not always get the glorious statistics that some of the other players get, but she has been an important piece to the team.
This season she is averaging 6.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.3 steals a game, and she flirts with double-doubles nightly.
“I don’t really think about that,” Norton said. “It’s just being the best player I can for my team. It fuels our offense."
Her stats may not be the highest, but it is the other things she does that draws praise from Fargas and teammates alike.
She tips passes. She passes to the assists. She tips rebounds to teammates. She locks down offensive threats. She energizes the defense. She would possibly have more steals if opposing offenses dared to pass it her way.
She is a defensive stopper and a jack of all trades.
“Shanice does a fabulous job,” Fargas said. “Especially when she is locked in on her side. You don’t get to score on Shanice’s side. It is almost like you better run your offense away from her. She does not give up a lot of points. She is a very good on-the-ball defender. I like her defensive mindset.”
Norton has always been the same style of player, but she has grown so much since she came to LSU all the way from London, England.
Though this is her first year being a cemented starter, Norton has started all but one game this season. Now, she is a necessary part of that starting lineup.
As she looks back on her play throughout the years, she can see the differences in herself on the court, however her biggest growth she has noticed was her mentality.
“It is a huge difference,” Norton said. “I have grown so much mentally. I have gone from going home after a game crying upset about the way I played to going home and thinking that I really accomplished something today or that I have really helped my team get this win. I really helped put us in a place where we can improve and be a better team. I have grown in a sense of being able to keep it together and staying tough.”
In her final season, she does not really have many individual goals. She sees the bigger picture and only wants team success. She doesn't care about the double-doubles. She doesn't care about the points.
In her time as an LSU Lady Tiger, she has never seen the second round of the NCAA Tournament. She has her sights on the tournament. She has her sights on a run.
“In previous years, we have only really made it to the first round of the NCAA Tournament,” Norton said. “We want to push passed that.”