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Small-town sisters a big part of Rockford College hoops

Wednesday, January 05, 2011  
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By Doug Goodman
The Journal-Standard
Posted Jan 05, 2011 @ 10:18 PM
Rockford, Ill. —

 For several years, the Lawler sisters were a force against small-school basketball teams in northern Illinois.
Now, Northern Athletics Conference schools are getting a double dose of the Lawlers at Rockford College.
Megan and Nicole Lawler, who were all-conference players at Pearl City, start for the Regents and combine to average 21 points and 15 rebounds.
"Coming from a small school, they lacked a lot of the recognition, but they get it now because of how they play,” Rockford College coach Jessica Stanek said of the 5-foot-10 sisters.
Megan, a senior, was an all-NAC second-team selection last season. This season, she is the conference’s second-leading rebounder (10.9 per game) and is averaging 14.2 points.
Nicole is a sophomore, averaging 7.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, an assist and a steal per game.
Stanek said the Lawlers work well together on the court, using their "sister intuition.”
"The play we love to do is, I get the ball at the high post and just feed it to her down low,” Nicole said. "I never know what kind of move she is going to make. She has great moves. I just love getting the assist.”
Megan knows her sister’s favorite offensive move. "She is a big driver, so I know to get out of the way,” she said, chuckling.
Megan came to Rockford after two years at Kishwaukee College, where she played basketball and competed for the school’s national championship volleyball team.
Megan enrolled at Rockford, and Nicole soon followed.
"We played one year together in high school, and I wanted to do that again,” Nicole said.
Nicole also liked Rockford College because she could play softball and volleyball, too.
"I wanted to play at a smaller school, like I’ve been used to most of my life.” she said. "And I could earn playing time here.”
Megan, who is majoring in physical education and began student-teaching this week in Stillman Valley, enjoys working with her younger sister during practice.
"Megan is always trying to help her out,” Stanek said. "She’ll say, ‘Hey try this.’ And it is nice to see that light bulb go off for Nicole, who then does it.”
The Regents are 4-7 after breaking a four-game losing streak last week. Megan is hopeful that the team will be more successful in the season’s second half.
"A lot of players were brought in this year, and we had only five returners, so it is a combination of everyone getting to know everyone else and learning the plays,” she said. "We have a ton of talent, and if we can get that going, we will be fine.”
Reach staff writer Doug Goodman at 815-987-1386 or

About the Lawlers
Who: Megan Lawler, senior, Rockford College, physical education major; Nicole Lawler, sophomore, Rockford College, psychology major
Parents: Mark and Kelly Lawler
Hometown: Pearl City
College sports: Megan, basketball, volleyball; Nicole, basketball, softball, volleyball

This story appeared at on January 5, 2011.

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