Last season, Shadeen Samuels and Desiree Elmore stole the headlines for the Seton Hall women’s basketball team. They performed at the highest level night in and night out, helping the Pirates finish the season as the four seed in the Big East and reach the second round of the Big East Tournament.
However, the player that surprised the most and slightly flew under the radar as a major producer for the team was Lauren Park-Lane.
The sophomore from Wilmington, Delaware, played varsity for five years at the Sanford School. There, she was all-conference five times, all-state four times, was named the 2019 Delaware Player of the Year and led her school to a state title her senior year.
Park-Lane did not disappoint, as she emerged as part of the starting five right out the gate. The only player to start all 31 games for the Pirates, she averaged 6.7 points per game and finished fourth in the Big East with 129 total assists and 4.2 assists per game.
Her progression throughout the season brought about these results. Coach Anthony Bozzella said she has gotten stronger, her ball-handling improved and her ability to shoot threes drastically increased since she arrived in South Orange. Even with her substantial improvements and her incredible results, though, there’s still room for improvement.
“This summer, especially during quarantine, I spent a lot of time working on my shot, and it has gotten a lot better,” Park-Lane said.
After only shooting 34% from the field and 28% from three last year, it looks to be her biggest focus in improvement for her sophomore season.
However, for Bozzella, the way he most wants to see her progress is in her leadership.
“She’s just more mature now, she’s confident, and she’s developing into quite a leader,” Bozzella said.
He also mentioned her progression as a three-point shooter and even said she has the potential to become one of the top defensive guards in the Big East.
Regardless of her own personal achievements, Park-Lane said she wants to assume that role of leader and help usher the team to a deeper run in the Big East, but also wants to create a more familial tone around the team.
“Basketball is very individualized,” she said. “There’s not many team awards. So, I think, as a team, we should strive to be a family. I feel like it will help us on the court and if we can do that, we will be very successful as a team.”
Brendan Balsamo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org