Visit Page
Skip to content

Overlooked No More

By Jen A. Miller

After just about any Seton Hall women’s basketball game, when both teams are in the locker room and the court has been cleared, you might still see one player on the sidelines, mugging for pictures and signing autographs, mostly with young girls.

That’s Lauren Park-Lane, Seton Hall’s point guard, who has become a BIG EAST star. Her best advice to young fans? “Don’t allow people to tell you what you
can and cannot do,” she said.

Park-Lane grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, and played high-school basketball at the Sanford School. She led the team to a state title in her senior year and was also a four-time all-state selection and 2019 Delaware Player of the Year.

But she kept being overlooked by college basketball coaches. She’s 5’3” tall, and all her teammates (and most opponents) were over 6 feet.

“It was very frustrating,” she said, as her friends’ kept getting offers from NCAA Division 1 schools. Her parents helped her stay on an even keel. “They kept pushing me and telling me that it’ll come.”

But no matter what other schools thought, Seton Hall saw her potential. Associate head coach Lauren DeFalco, a former guard herself, saw Park-Lane play in a summer league, and immediately called head coach Tony Bozzella. “After five or six calls with Lauren, we really felt comfortable with her to come in and be a contributor to our program,” he said. “We didn’t know how big a contributor she would be.”

Park-Lane, now a co-captain of the team, is a playmaker. She’s broken all of Seton Hall’s assist
records, including single-game assists (18), single-season assists (260) and career assists with nearly 700. For the 2021-22 season, she was the national leader in total assists. She’s also strong from the free-throw line and has a high 3-point shot percentage. She has scored over 1,900 points and finished last season only 20 points behind Seton Hall’s all-time scoring record. In a February game against DePaul, she racked up 39 points, breaking
a school record.

In addition to leading Seton Hall to the National Final of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament in 2021-22, she’s collected armfuls of accolades including: the 2023 John R. Wooden Award Watch List and three straight First Team All-BIG EAST selections. She was also a finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award in 2023, one
of just five players nationwide to receive such an honor.

Bozzella notes that she uses her stature to her advantage. Point guards should be quick like Park-Lane, and her height makes her harder to defend since her opponents are constantly looking down and bending over. “Our system of play really opens up the floor and allows a guard to use her quickness and her speed,
which Lauren does,” he said. “Everyone wants height.
We want skills.”

Park-Lane has one more year of eligibility, and eventually she wants to go pro. “I just love basketball and want to make improvements to my game and see how good I can get because I know I can always get better,” she said. “I just want to be great.”

Bozzella hopes that she’ll end up coaching with him one day. “Yes, she’s going to be able to teach them basketball and teach them how to shoot. But I don’t have a lot of people I can hire who would have an impact on human beings that Lauren’s going to have on people.”

Jen A. Miller is the author of Running: A Love Story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest