Soldier Surprise: Missouri Western guard Lanicia Lawrence sees father for first time in 10 months

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. - It had been 10 months since Missouri Western women's basketball player Lanicia Lawrence had seen her father.

That time came to an end Friday in an unforgettable reunion on the basketball court at the school's St. Joseph campus.

Toward the end of practice, US Army Staff Sgt. Barry Lawrence walked out onto the court, having just returned from Afghanistan. His daughter immediately teared up.

"I knew I would get a hug and a kiss," Barry Lawrence told Griffon Sports Insider. "But I didn't know there would be that much crying."

Missouri Western coach Rod Edmisson helped set up the meeting, and intentionally made it happen near the end of practice.

"I knew it was going to be an emotional time for her and probably some of our players," Edmisson told GSI, which produces athletics-based videos and programs for the university.

Lanicia said at first, she didn't think it was real. "I thought I was dreaming at first," said the junior guard, in her first year in St. Joseph after transferring from Hutchinson Community College in Kansas.

But her dream is reality, and it's going to stay that while, at least for now. Barry Lawrence's most recent tour in Afghanistan was his last.

"I'm about to retire," he said on a video posted on the GSI YouTube page. "We're gonna follow our kids. Whatever they decide to do, that's what we're gonna do."

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