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Feb. 17, 2012
The modern history of Florida State women's basketball is occupied with banners and 20-win seasons and major contributions to the ACC's success. While Christy Derlak wasn't a direct part of that, her individual career clearly lines up right beside it.
The 5-10 forward from Tennessee became FSU's second All-ACC player when she earned second-team honors in her senior season of 1994, and the achievement is especially impressive in context. She was only the fourth player in ACC history to make the first or second team while playing on a last-place club; there wouldn't be another for 10 years.
Even though her Seminoles finished 6-21 overall, Derlak was hard to miss: a player with height for the post and an accurate touch from long range. For her career, she hit 34 percent of her 3-point shots - above the national average in any era - and still good for seventh place in Seminole records books. She averaged 17.4 points and 4.8 rebounds a game as a senior and was a 74-percent foul shooter who often drew contact. She got to the line an average of six times a contest in 1993-94, proving she could put the ball on the floor as well as play off perimeter screens.
Derlak established the school record for 3-pointers in a game with seven, and she did so on her birthday, Nov. 26, 1993.
She helped FSU win 25 games in its final season in the Metro Conference, her freshman year of 1990-91, and the Seminoles were bound for a tougher league the following year. In 1992, the ACC was led by Virginia, which finished first in the final Associated Press poll, and Maryland, which claimed eighth. North Carolina, building toward an eventual NCAA championship two years later, and Clemson also made NCAA Tournament appearances, but the Noles were not intimidated. They defeated the Tigers and Tar Heels and surprised many by finishing 8-8 in the conference.
While the program experienced some difficulty thereafter, Derlak maintained excellence on and off the floor. She was an outstanding student who majored in communication sciences and disorders. In 1994, she became the first FSU women's basketball player to earn a Weaver-James-Corrigan scholarship, a grant toward postgraduate education. That helped fund her Master's degree in speech and language pathology from FSU.
Derlak, now known as Christy Derlak Lawley, is a speech and language pathologist at University Hospital in Tamarac, Fla., near Fort Lauderdale. She is married to Jeffrey Lawley and has a daughter, Sam McQuaig.
McQuaig may wind up playing for her mom one of these years. Derlak Lawley is coaching third- and fourth-graders in basketball and different age levels in softball.