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Slain Fullerton coach's athletic prowess is recalled

February 5, 2013 |  1:42 pm

PHOTOS: Memorial for slain basketball coach

In high school, Monica Quan was a focused basketball player who made the varsity team as a freshman and played for four years. A former coach described her as "unflappable."

She had a tightknit group of friends, was well-liked and came from a solid family.

“She had basically done everything you could do right,” Mike James, a teacher at Walnut High and Quan’s coach for two years, said Tuesday.

PHOTOS: Memorial for slain basketball coach

So it was all the more shocking for her old coach and the Walnut community to learn of the Sunday night killing of Quan, 28, and her fiance, Keith Lawrence, 27, who was a basketball star too.

Each was shot multiple times, and authorities said they have tentatively ruled out the possibility of the crime being a murder-suicide or motivated by robbery.

Autopsy results due back Tuesday could provide more clues into the slaying of the Cal State Fullerton coach and Lawrence, a public safety officer with USC. The couple's bodies were discovered in their car on the top level of the parking structure at their upscale, high-security condominium complex near UC Irvine.

The two became engaged in January, a family member said, and had recently moved into the condo complex. They met at Concordia University in Irvine, where they both played basketball and earned their degrees.

Both Concordia and Cal State Fullerton released statements and videos in response to the double homicide.

Quan was a 2002 graduate of Walnut High School in the San Gabriel Valley, where she set school records for the most three-pointers in a season and a game.

She played at Cal State Long Beach and at Concordia University, from which she graduated in 2007.

James said in high school, Quan was a high-profile athlete who was respected by teammates and opponents alike.

“In general, if there was a big shot that had to be taken, she wanted to be the one taking it,” he said. “Whatever was needed by the team, she wanted to be involved in it.”

Quan’s parents could be seen at every basketball game, James said.

“It didn’t matter where she was playing,” James said. “If she was playing on the moon they would be there. They never missed anything that she did.”

James said that teachers at Walnut High are shocked. Many have said that she was a pleasure in class.

“It’s tragic that someone who does everything the right way, the way you would want to do it is just in the wrong place at the wrong time," he said.

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-- Nicole Santa Cruz

Photo: A memorial to Monica Quan at Walnut High School. Credit: Patrick T. Fallon / Los Angeles Times

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