Courtesy of Mercer Athletics
Kahlia Lawrence and Sydni Means — those are two names you will hear an awful lot if you attend Mercer women’s basketball games. The pair are almost inseparable.
Lawrence and Means both started playing basketball at the young age of five, and both have been in love with the sport ever since.
“I used to play with the boys when I was young, and I was very good at it. I knew at a young age that was the sport I wanted to play,” Means said.
The two players came to Mercer the same year and have played together since they were freshmen. Interestingly, Mercer was not the first time that these two met — they used to face off on opposite sides of the court.
Means said that as a high school player at Greater Atlanta Christian School, she played against Lawrence, then attending Kendrick High School, on two occasions. Both times, her team lost by three points.
“Her uncle was the ref so she really cheated,” Means said, laughing in reference to the second of the two games.
After coming to Mercer, their high school rivalry evolved into a friendly relationship that thrives both on and off the court.
“The relationship we have off the court has done nothing but mold our relationship on the court,” Lawrence said. “We know each other’s tendencies.”
The two live together and even have classes together, so between basketball and downtime, they spend a lot of time together.
“We spend about 22 out of 24 hours together,” Lawrence said. “I just really appreciate her on and off the court.”
Means and Lawrence both said they work furiously on the court in order to do right by their team and help win games. Lawrence said that she wants to improve her defense this season, and Means echoed a similar sentiment about her own play.
“I know my strengths, and I know my weaknesses,” Means said. “So I’ve been working on my weaknesses and trying to perfect my strengths.”
Lawrence has shown a steady increase in skill over the first couple of games in the season. In the team’s first game against Emmanuel College, she only scored 11 points. However, on Nov. 18, she managed to score 34 points against Florida Atlantic University.
In that same game against FAU, Means was able to score 14 points and managed to pull out 8 assists. Her consistent number of assists matches her self-described role on the team.
“I want to help my teammates on the court,” Means said. “If I can put them in positions to do well as well as putting myself in a position to do well, I think that we’ll win a lot of games.”
Lawrence said she has modeled many aspects of her play off of NBA players like DeMar DeRozan and Dwyane Wade. She said she wants to live up to expectations that others have set for her and to also exceed the expectations she set for herself.
“Anything worth having is not easy to get,” Lawrence said.
Both players said they are dedicated to defeating their rivals this season and helping the team qualify for the NCAA championships.
Means and Lawrence hope that students will come out to help support them as the season continues.
“Come out to games. We appreciate everyone,” Lawrence said. “I think the start of the season now is a show that it’s going to be a good one this year.”