Women’s College Basketball: Freshman Lane hitting her stride at UND
It has not taken Olivia Lane long to make her mark for the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks women’s basketball team.
After an early season injury set her back, the freshman and Pequot Lakes graduate posted a season-high 21 points and 10 rebounds in the Fighting Hawks 79-73 loss to New Orleans Saturday, Dec. 28.
She has spent the season coming off the bench for the Fighting Hawks appearing in eight games so far, and she says she tries to use her aggressiveness as an advantage.
Lane is listed as 6-foot-2, but she plays inside mostly for North Dakota. She really takes pride in her ability to grab rebounds. She currently snatches five boards a game, which is third on the team.
“I really want to bring energy when on defense and boxing out and rebounding has been a big thing I really wanted to focus on,” Lane said. “My shot has also improved a lot since coming here.
“With the rebounding, it has been different from high school because in high school I was always just taller than everyone else. But here a lot of girls are taller than me or the same height, so I just try to find someone, box them out and push them back.”
Lane also is fourth on the team in scoring, averaging a little over eight points a game. Scoring and rebounding are not new to Lane’s game. She finished her high school career at Pequot Lakes as the Patriots’ all-time leading scorer and rebounder.
She’s also recorded two double-doubles most recently against New Orleans and a 14-point, 11-rebound performance against Northland Nov. 26.
All of this production has come while averaging only 13.5 minutes a game. The lack of playing time early is mostly due to a leg injury she suffered early in the season.
Against New Orleans, however, Lane posted her season-high in points and logged her season-high in minutes with 30 off the bench, so her playing time is rising.
Three games prior against Mayville State, Lane played 23 minutes off the bench and scored 17 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in a 83-52 win.
The transition from playing high school basketball to college basketball has been something Lane has taken head on.
“Definitely has been a big change,” Lane said. “I’ve had some injuries, so I have been coming back for a month now. Just getting over that and getting back in the swing of things has been big. The pace is definitely faster and they are more attention to details in college than in high school.”
Lane arrived on campus June 16. She admits to being a little nervous when she first arrived, but now after six months and one semester down she feels like it is just basketball.
“I just feel in the flow more,” Lane said. “Just going out there and doing the best I can. It’s been really fun to be out there playing.”
Playing Division I basketball is a grind. The amount of school work coupled with playing a sport like basketball can be like juggling two full-time jobs at once. Lane said it took a little adjusting, but she has learned the valuable lesson of time management to help her get all the work done.
“They help a lot,” Lane said. “We have tutors we can use and have study table hours every week, which is cool. But figuring out time management has been a big thing for me. With classes and practice and then studying I’ve had to learn how to manage my time better.”
However, Lane enjoys the D1 lifestyle. From travel, to the meals being prepared everywhere they go, to the travel suits they wear everywhere it’s been a fun experience.
“It’s so cool,” Lane said. “I’ve never traveled during the school year like this. It’s been cool to have the experiences.”
Her favorite non-conference trip was to South Carolina over Thanksgiving weekend. The Fighting Hawks won two games over South Carolina State and Charles Southern and while they were down in Charleston the team did a tour of the city on horse buggies.
“It’s very historic there and seeing all the different buildings there was fun,” Lane said.
Moving forward for Lane, the Fighting Hawks start their conference schedule New Year's Day on the road against Denver. They posted a 9-4 record in non-conference play and Lane is really looking forward to her first conference game.
“Really excited to start conference play, that’s a really big deal,” Lane said. “My mindset is to just do the best I can and have a strong work ethic when I am on the court. We are really excited headed into conference play.”
CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.
School: University of North Dakota
High School: Pequot Lakes
Season Averages: 8.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 72% FG%