BISMARCK — Angie (Welle) Edinger recently ran into Bismarck Century senior Lauren Ware as Edinger was leaving her home. A former Fargo Shanley star, Edinger congratulated Ware on her recent college commitment and took a photo with Ware.
"She's a local celeb so I kept tabs on her," said Edinger, who was a three-time NCAA Division I women's basketball All-American at Iowa State.
A 1998 Shanley graduate, Edinger posted the photo with Ware on her Twitter account a couple of days after Ware committed to the University of Arizona for women's basketball and volleyball.
“She’s leaving high school with much more college level skills than I had," said Edinger, who played for the Cyclones from 1998-2002, scoring more than 2,000 points and grabbing more than 1,000 rebounds in her career. “Her outside game is a lot better.”
The 6-foot-4 Edinger sees some similarities between her and the 6-foot-5 Ware, who is expected to miss her senior volleyball and basketball seasons at Century with a knee injury. Edinger wore No. 32 at Shanley, the same number as Ware. Edinger and Ware both played for North Tartan, a travel basketball team based in the Twin Cities.
“I think that is really cool to have a relationship with her and being able to talk to her," Ware said of Edinger. "I’ve always really looked up to her. I knew she was a really good player.”
Ware tore her ACL at the end of July playing in a summer volleyball tournament in Sioux Falls, S.D. Even though she can't play, Ware is still going to Century volleyball practices and games around her rehab schedule. She plans to do the same during the girls basketball season.
“It’s a different experience for me and it will make it stronger for me in the long run," Ware said of watching from the sidelines.
Ware added being around her teammates has made it easier dealing with the knee injury.
“It would be harder if I wasn’t part of the team this year," Ware said.
On her Twitter post with Ware, Edinger wrote: "This girl is proof that the art of GREAT POST PLAY is not gone!"
“I get defensive when I watch (basketball) and everyone says it’s become a guard game," said Edinger, who is an assistant principal at Wachter Middle School in Bismarck. “Watching her has given me the itch to go back in the gym. I want to work with post players.”
Century head girls basketball coach Ron Metz hasn't seen a high school player like Ware in his more than 30 years of coaching, including more than 20 at the varsity level.
“I haven’t seen anybody that can do everything that she can, that goes at both ends of the floor," Metz said. “It’s pretty phenomenal.”
Ware, who verbally committed to Arizona on Saturday, Sept. 7, welcomes the challenge of playing basketball and volleyball at a Division I program. She said it would have been a tough decision to decide on one sport for college.
“I think it was getting the opportunity was pretty cool," Ware said. “I’ve played both basically my whole life."
Even though Ware is going to miss her senior basketball season, Edinger thinks she still deserves to be recognized as the top player in the state.
“She still gets my vote for Miss Basketball," said Edinger, who added her 5-year-old daughter Lily looks up to Ware. "On the court or on the sideline, she still gets my vote.”
Ware averaged 18.1 points, 11.5 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game during her junior season, helping the Patriots win a second consecutive North Dakota Class A state girls basketball championship last March. She is a three-time, all-state selection in basketball.
Edinger is impressed with the way Ware runs the court for a post player and bristles when she hears people say Ware is a good player solely because of her height.
“I hate when people say ‘Oh, because she’s tall.’ You have to have footwork," said Edinger, who heard some of the same things when she played. "You have to have body position. She does all those things.”
Ware agreed with Edinger.
“I can be really bad and still be this tall," Ware said with a laugh.
Edinger said she's heard from some basketball fans that Ware reminds them of Edinger when she played at Shanley. But Edinger added that isn't a large group since she is more than 20 years removed from her prep career.
“I think I’m too old," Edinger said with a laugh. “I’m too far removed for (most) people to make the comparison.”