Athletics came naturally to Laura Lishness from an early age. As a young girl, she was an all-star in the Forestville Little League and she played basketball in grade school before entering Bristol Eastern High School. At Bristol Eastern, Laura was a three-sport athlete and she won multiple all-conference honors in the sports of soccer, basketball and softball. Laura helped lead her basketball team to a State Championship in her senior year and she also received 1st team All-State honors.
Laura went on to play basketball at the University of Connecticut and she was part of a very special group at Storrs who made history in the women’s basketball program. As point guard, Laura was an immediate contributor to the developing Huskies squad. She was named Big East Freshman of the Year in 1988 and in her four years at UCONN she tallied 1303 points and 531 assists and recorded 150 steals. During Laura’s junior year, her triple double against Seton Hall was instrumental in winning UConn’s first Big East Conference title. That record stands today and she still holds the record for most points, assists and steals in one game.
As co-captain her senior year, Laura helped lead her team to the NCAA Final Four in 1991, the first UConn women’s basketball team to ever reach this elite level. As many would quickly realize, UConn’s first Final Four berth signaled the program’s arrival on the national stage as no Big East team, much less one from New England, had ever advanced so far into an NCAA tournament. With the construction of Gampel Pavilion and the hard work of the unassuming young women like Laura Lishness, 6th year coach Geno Auriemma was able to bring his 1991 team to the levels of perfection many take for granted today. Laura’s most memorable game from this season was their team’s win against Auburn, who was ranked #2 in the country at the time. After defeating the overly-confident Auburn team, UConn vaulted into the polls and eventually won the Big East Conference crown after defeating a frustrated Providence team. Laura ended the season with Kodak District 1 All-American honors for her outstanding play.
After graduating from UConn with a degree in Sociology, Laura worked with emotionally disturbed adolescents in Alexandria, Virginia as part of the Family Advocacy Services of Northern Virginia. Laura served as a liaison between parents, foster care services, teachers, and the court system and although the job was very challenging, she found it was also very rewarding.
Laura currently resides in Bristol and participates in intramural softball and soccer leagues. She was inducted into the Bristol Sports Hall of Fame in November of 2007 and the Bristol Tramps Organization in 2000.