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Danecdotes: Lane seeks to keep improving

"I just always want to work to improve myself, and be the best player I can be for the team." - Olivia Lane

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In her freshman year at UND, Pequot Lakes grad Olivia Lane averaged 6.1 points and 4.4 rebounds. Russ Hons / University of North Dakota

Olivia Lane is always one to set a goal for herself.

Last year, the 2019 Pequot Lakes grad’s goal was to make the transition from high school Division-I basketball, which she did as a member of the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks.

This year, she hopes to become a key member of the team.

As a member of the Patriots girls’ basketball team, Lane began her varsity career as a spindly eighth-grader. She finished as the school’s record holder for points in a career (2,443), points in a game (44) and rebounds in a career (1,570). She was a two-time conference MVP, two-time area player of the year, McDonald’s All-American nominee and finalist for Minnesota’s “Miss Basketball” award.

“What I remember the most was being able to build my confidence,” the UND sophomore said of her time with the Patriots. “Being moved up at an early age really built up that confidence, and I had a lot of support, which was very beneficial to where I am today.”

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She committed to play for the Fighting Hawks after her sophomore year, and spent her remaining years in Pequot Lakes honing her craft and turning her weaknesses into strengths. Even with all of that work, the 6-foot-2-inch forward admits the jump to competition at the Division-I level was a bit jarring, at least at first.

“It has been an experience for sure,” Lane said. “I came up midway through June for my first practice, and I was just all nerves. The whole summer was kind of like that for me, where I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m actually playing college basketball,’ but when we got into the regular season, I was much more calm. I just felt like I was supposed to be there, I guess.”

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UND forward Olivia Lane takes a shot in the paint against North Dakota State University on Sunday, Feb. 23. Russ Hons / University of North Dakota

In her freshman year, she played in 25 games, averaging 6.1 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. She recorded three double-doubles and had a season-high 21 points in a game against the University of New Orleans in Louisiana.

This season, she will work with the strategies of a new head coach, Mallory Bernhard, and things are off to a “really great” start for Lane and the Hawks. Not only is Lane working to learn new schemes and strategies, she has also set a few goals of her own.

“There are some things that I took from last season that I want to improve on, but it was definitely good to be out there,” Lane said. “I was fortunate to play my freshman season, and I felt a lot of energy from the fans and my teammates. It was just a great experience to play in.”

Her freshman season managed to come to an end before the COVID-19 pandemic halted sports at every level, but spring workouts and other team events were canceled. Though the 2020-21 season was able to begin - albeit later than usual - a few changes have taken effect, including weekly COVID-19 tests and the athletes wearing masks during practice.

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Lane’s 2020-21 season is beginning even later, unfortunately, as a broken finger is keeping her sidelined at least until January. When she is ready to take to the court again, she hopes to make a statement, both as an individual and a team.

“My ultimate goal is if I can get All-Summit League (honors), that would be really cool,” she said. “That has been my goal since this summer. Besides that, I just want to do what I can for the team and focus on my rebounding, especially on the offensive side. I think that should be a huge part of my game this year … I just always want to work to improve myself, and be the best player I can be for the team.”

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Olivia Lane awaits a free throw against North Dakota State University. Russ Hons / University of North Dakota

Before she graduates, Lane said her ultimate goal is to help the Fighting Hawks make an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. After she graduates, she hopes to stay involved in basketball both as an athlete and as a physical therapist.

“If I can, I really want to play overseas,” she said. “I really want to see how that is. After that, I’m going into physical therapy and I would like to work with athletes. For basketball players, I think that would be really cool.”

Regardless of where her career takes her, she will always take with her the things she learned as a Patriot.

“I learned to just work hard and always have goals for yourself,” she said. “I think what has helped me become the player I am, gaining confidence and dealing with some adversity that would come.”

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Dan Determan may be reached at 218-855-5879 or dan.determan@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Dan.

Related Topics: BASKETBALLPEQUOT LAKES
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