It’s time to give Delaware some respect for the athletes that have developed right in our own backyard.
Too many times, the national media and some scouts seem to overlook the Small Wonder as a state that has quality athletic talent. Delaware has put out amazing athletes over the years, and we want to highlight them.
Over this series, we will take a look at both men’s and women’s athletes who are excelling at all levels of collegiate and professional sports.
Lauren Park-Lane was special as a Delaware high school hooper. She built her reputation as a standout floor general over a tremendous 5-year varsity career at Sanford School in Hockessin. Her time at Sanford was nothing short of spectacular. Earning All-State Honors four years, All-Conference Honors all five years & ending her career on top as a 2018/2019 DIAA girls’ basketball state champion.
During her time at Sanford, Delaware was putting out D-1 guards year in and year out. Adrianna Hahn (Villanova), Maggie Connolly (Princeton), Alisha Lewis (UCF), and Ber’Nyah Mayo (UMass) to name a few. Park-Lane was consistently considered among those elite talents and was recognized for her own greatness by being named Delaware’s Player of the Year in 2019.
For those who followed her closely, it was clear she was a D-1 talent. That talent was recognized by Seton Hall during her senior season, as she signed her letter of intent to play for the Pirates beginning in the fall of 2019.
Park-Lane showed up to “The Hall” and proved, right away, that she belonged. She was the ONLY player on the roster to start ALL 31 games of Seton Hall’s games in 2019/2020, as a true freshman! She led the Pirates and was ranked fourth in the Big East in assists (129) and assists per game (4.2) during her freshman campaign. She wasn’t just excelling on the court either, as she was named to the Big East All-Academic Team.
Due to the COVID-19 shut down of college basketball tournament play, we didn’t get to see Park-Lane’s chance at the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. At 19-12, the Pirates were in position to make a run at the tournament, but the opportunity was taken away.
However, the statement was made that Lauren Park-Lane was due for a breakout sophomore year in 2020/2021, and she hasn’t disappointed.
In four games early this season, Park-Lane has shown vast improvements in her game, taking leaps in shooting percentage (34.3% to 47.3%), free throw attempts and percentage (66.7% on less than two attempts per game to 78.3% on just under six per), assists per game (4.2 to 6) and points per game (6.7 to 18.8). Yes, the sample size is much smaller, but this should be a trend that continues as the season goes on. She has scored double figures in all four games to open this season, something she only did in about a third of her games last year.
Her career hit an individual high point last week, on the grandest of regular season stages. Seton Hall took on perennial power and third-ranked (AP poll) UCONN on Dec. 15, and it was a career day for the sophomore. Park-Lane netted a career high 29 points on 9-20 from the field, including 9-10 from the charity stripe. She also had her teammates involved, dishing out six assists. Going toe-to-toe with the likes of Paige Bueckers would prove to be too much, as the Pirates were downed 92-65. However, Park-Lane made a statement with this performance that she has taken that next step and is ready to be a force in the Big East this year.
Looking ahead for the Pirates, they won’t play again until after the new year. They have had their last two games postponed, due COVID-19 protocols (Dec. 19 vs. Marquette and Dec. 22 vs. Georgetown). The next scheduled game to catch Park-Lane in action will be Jan. 3 when the Pirates travel to Providence to take on the Friars. The time for this contest is to be announced at a later date.