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House on the Hill: An Outside Inside Game

March 4, 2015

Check out the story on Homan's selection to the All-Patriot League First Team below.

Homan, O'Hare Claim All-League Status

Emily Homan loves being on the court.

As Lafayette College's 2014-15 leader in points, rebounds and blocked shots, that shouldn't surprise you.

But would you believe she loves the field just as much?

No, not the kind of field she needs to lace up cleats and put on shin guards for.

The kind that could very well be her place of employment in the years to come.

Homan, a senior forward who will end her career among the program's top five leaders in points, rebounds and blocked shots, will graduate in May with her degree in Geology, a major that has had her spending hours in the field digging up and studying the Earth.

"If you told me four years ago that I was going to major in geology, I probably wouldn't even have known what it was," Homan, 21, said. "I came in undeclared and had no idea what I wanted to do. I planned to take a bunch of classes in many different areas, like religion, economics, anthropology, government and geology. When I took the first semester intro class, it was one of the only classes I really liked. That first one was about natural disasters, hurricanes and earthquakes, and I absolutely loved it. I tried another geology class, and I still really liked it. None of the other classes I was taking captivated me in the same way."

What has captivated Homan most about geology has been being out in the field. Over fall break during her junior year, one of her classes went to Wyoming for a five-day field camp where she was responsible for describing the rocks she found and deformation they underwent. Once classes resumed, she had to write a 50-page research paper about what she experienced on the trip.

"I had the time of my life," she said. "It kind of solidified that, 'Oh yeah. I do still like this. I picked the right major.'"

Then for eight weeks last summer, Homan did an REU (research experiment for undergraduates) at Northern Arizona University where she worked with soils and researched how they develop on lava fields.

"I enjoyed every minute of it," she said. "It felt like I was on vacation."

David Sunderlin, Ph.D, associate professor of geology at Lafayette, has had Homan in several of his classes ranging from an introductory class to upper-level courses. He saw something special in Homan right away, and he's seen first-hand how much being part of a team has benefited her in her major.

"You could tell she was fascinated with the subject matter, and that she had a natural ability to imagine the spacial and temporal scales that geology requires," Sunderlin said. "Where I really saw her shine was out in the field. She very clearly enjoyed the puzzle that the world is.

"She has a great leadership role on the court. And when you're out in the field, you can see that aspect, too. They're a team trying to figure things out."

As a freshman, Homan had quite a few other things to figure out besides her major. She was in new surroundings, playing with new teammates and adjusting to a more up-tempo style.

"You don't get a whole lot of Emily Homan's coming your way. She decided she was going to excel on the court the same way she wants to in the classroom."

-- Lafayette women's basketball head coach Dianne Nolan on Homan

Game one of her college career forced her to figure out just how she was going to handle playing against her big sister who she grew up cheering for.

To open the 2011-12 season, Lafayette traveled to Rider University where Homan's sister, Sarah, was a senior.

"I felt like almost everybody I knew from high school (Delaware County Christian) came to that game," Homan said. "I had always gone to her games when she was in high school, and you feel like she's so much older and so much better, and here I find myself playing on the same court as her. It was kind of surreal."

What's surreal for Lafayette head coach Dianne Nolan is Homan's impending departure. As the days pass, the veteran coach has become more and more aware that the four-year starter's time as a Leopard is coming to a close, something Nolan would rather not think about.

Homan was chosen as one of 30 women's basketball candidates for the Senior CLASS Award. She is among the Patriot League leaders in scoring, owns a 3.56 GPA and was a first-team All-Patriot League selection this season, leading the Leopards in points (16.9 pg) and rebounds (7.8 pg).

"She's very special," Nolan said. "She's very respectful and that just doesn't happen a lot. There's no talking behind people's backs. Those kinds of qualities are so important with a team, and it's one of those things that you say don't matter until it matters."

"You don't get a whole lot of Emily Homans coming your way. She decided she was going to excel on the court the same way she wants to in the classroom. She's unique in that she has really good hands and she's quick. She has guard-like hands in a post's body."

Because Sunderlin has taught Homan in multiple classes over the last four years, he's gotten to know her well, and he said he's never seen her in a bad mood.

"And I've seen her in some pretty trying conditions outside when it's cold, wet, hot," he said. "She's an upbeat person with a great sense of humor that shows up with a smile."

The 6-foot-3 Upper Darby, Pa. native has never won a Patriot League postseason game during her career at Lafayette, and she's desperate to change that.

But the one thing she would never change is all that she has experienced on College Hill.

"I feel like I've learned so much, from dealing with people and situations and learning to overcome things," Homan said. "It's really made me into the person I am today. Playing Division I basketball is probably one of the hardest things you can do along with going to a good school academically. You're forced to work to get along with people. It's taught me a lot of different lessons."

"I would do it again in a second."

By Mandy Housenick | House on the Hill