Shawnee Lady Wolves basketball standout Lauren Fields is putting in work this off-season.

Fields and her family recently returned from a trip to Italy where she was a member of the Adidas USA team. On the trip, team USA competed against several Italian teams.

To cap the trip, the women's Adidas squad faced off with the FIBA Under-20 team where team USA won by three. The trip was well worth it, Fields said.

“It was a great experience getting to play with girls from all over the country and world,” Fields said. “It was different in the sense we didn't have much time to prepare and make our game work. The style of play overseas was different but it was good for us to experience that style of basketball.”

Beating the FIBA team gave Fields the confidence necessary to elevate her game as she heads into a college career next year.

“That was a really good game for us,” Fields said. “The physicality of the game is so much different. A lot of the girls on the teams were already playing at the college and pro levels. Knowing I can hang with those girls really gave me the confidence needed for the next level.”

Fields played her first couple years at Deer Creek High School. She transferred to Shawnee the second semester of last season and has been an integral part of the Lady Wolves' as they enter their second season at the 6A level.

“The transition was tough at first,” Fields said. “The style of play was different. Here we play more inside-out with our post. My teammates really pushed me and helped me along the way.”

Looking forward to her senior season, Fields is ready to help take the Lady Wolves on a deep playoff run, she said.

“This year I feel like we can go to the state tournament and do some damage there,” Fields said. “Individually, I want to focus on helping my team get to where we need to be and be a better leader.”

Playing for Coach Wendi Wells has been a blessing for Fields. Wells was a top prospect coming out of Fort Cobb, had a great career at Arkansas and played professionally for the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks during the 2001 season.

“Coach has been there before so having someone with that experience and helping you out is great,” Fields said. “She expects a lot from you, because she knows what we are capable of. I'm ready to return the favor and help her and the team get to where we want to be.”

Fields committed to play basketball at the University of California-Berkley late last season and is looking forward to the college experience.

“I knew I always wanted to go there so I figured why wait. Honestly, I was tired of the recruiting process and they were always my number one choice. We visited and after we left I told my parents that's where I wanted to be.”

Fields' parents, Danielle and Darryl knew where their daughter wanted to be and are happy she was afforded the opportunity to receive an education while playing basketball.

“When we were on the plane back to Oklahoma City, she looked at us and said that's where she wanted to be,” Danielle Fields said. “I said let's wait it out, but she knew that was the school for her. When that offer came through, we knew.”

As of now, Fields is interested in pursuing an engineering degree.

“Education is a big deal in our family,” she said. “My brother [Josh] set the standards pretty high. He was the first African-American valedictorian at Deer Creek. Last semester I finished with all A's so that's pretty much the expectation. I want to do something in engineering. I'm not sure exactly what yet, I'll figure that out.”

The player Fields said she enjoys watching the most is Minnesota Lynx star Maya Moore.

“I like watching [Maya] Moore play,” Fields said. We have a similar style. Also a lot of people tell me I play like Kevin Durant.”

Danielle remembers the first time her daughter stepped on the basketball court and she knew they were witnessing something special.

“She's always loved the game and we are so proud of her,” Danielle Fields said. “Her knowledge of the game wasn't there then but her athleticism was. I remember her first game. It was out in Yukon. We had people coming up to us after and telling us they were going to remember her name. Keep in mind she was making layups on the wrong goal. Her dad would direct her in the right direction at halftime.”

As a future NCAA athlete, Fields is dedicated on and off the floor. She spends on average 14 hours per week working on her craft. That includes getting up at 5 a.m. for workouts and only taking Sundays off to attend church.

“We are so happy all of her hard work has payed off and that she's a good student,” Danielle Fields said. “It's a big deal that she's able to play the game she loves in college and get a great education. We are all proud of her. I really admire that she has the drive to be the best student-athlete possible.”