(SAINT JOSEPH, Mo) Friday's practice for Missouri Western Women's Basketball started like any other, preparing for another tough conference road game.
That is, until Rob Edmisson pulled aside junior guard Lanicia Lawrence.
"We were doing some drill in practice and coach called me over," she said. "He knew about it, but I didn't. He was talking about what I need to do for this game. But he was just playing, and he said: 'The guy behind you will get mad if you don't.'"
"It was my wife's idea as far as to go up early," Staff Sergeant and Lanicia's father, Barry, said. "We called the coach to see if we could come in, and he gave us the time at about three o'clock. They notified the coach that we were here and we walked in on practice and surprised her."
Staff Sgt. Lawrence, having just returned from his most recent tour of duty in Afghanistan, was seeing his daughter for the first time in nine months.
"It's always great seeing my kids, but it was a bittersweet moment at the time because she had no idea whatsoever that we were coming."
"It was my dad, so my initial reaction was just to start crying because I hadn't seen him in so long," Lanicia said."
Staff Sgt. Lawrence had been able to watch Lanicia play when she was at Hutchison Community College in Kansas last season. But now, in her first year at Western, Sunday's game at Emporia State marked the first time her dad could see her in Griffon gold.
"I was kind of nervous because he hasn't seen my play in a while."
"It was great, it's almost like starting all over again. Every time I watch her it just gets better and better," Staff Sgt. Lawrence said.
It may keep getting better, as he could have plenty of time to watch Lanicia now that he's finally ready to hang it up.
"At the end of this year, in October, I'm retiring. That feels exceptionally great, because now I can hopefully come and watch as many games as she's playing in as I can."