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Instant impact: Park grad Sydney Lamberty is making an early mark at Creighton

Sydney Lamberty is averaging just under 10 points per game in her freshman year at Creighton. (Photo courtesy of Mark Kuhlmann/Creighton Athletics)

After setting records, making headlines and winning championships for Park, Sydney Lamberty didn’t expect to have much of an impact at Creighton in her freshman year with the Division I program.

“I figured I would just come in and kind of get a few minutes here and there to help the team out,” Lamberty said.

Funny joke.

Through 21 games the former Wolfpack star is Creighton’s third-highest scorer at 9.7 points per contest, fourth in minutes per game and leads the Blue Jay with a 3-to-1 assist to turnover ratio.

“She has great versatility to her game,” Creighton head coach Jim Flanery said. “She isn’t a point guard, but she is a very good passer. She isn’t necessarily a shooter, but she shoots it well. She can put it on the floor and do a lot of things.”

One of those things that has impressed Flanery the most is Lamberty’s defense, which he said is good.

“For a freshman that isn’t always the case,” he said.

And according to Lamberty that wasn’t the case with her before she got to Creighton.

“In high school I always I thought I played defense, but you get here and it’s there’s different things that you have to do. It’s crazy,” she said. “Honestly I don’t think I had that good of defense until I came here. (Coach Flanery) definitely made me work on defense and we really didn’t focus that much on the offensive side, because like he said, ‘I know you can score.’”

She did in high school, setting Park’s all-time scoring record as she netted well north of 2,000 career points in a Wolfpack uniform.

Still, even the star scorer’s transition to major college basketball wasn’t as seamless as it may have looked from the outside.

“But honestly it was really hard,” Lamberty said. “Practices were harder, the speed was so much faster.

That showed up in Lamberty’s stat column in the early going. She averaged just 5.2 points per game over her first five collegiate contests.

“I would just go out there and I would just be worried like don’t turn the ball over, don’t get beat on defense,” she said of her first couple appearances.

But it was after the Blue Jays’ second game of the year — a seven-point win at South Dakota State, when that started to change and she started to feel more comfortable on the floor.

“I wasn’t totally worried about making mistakes,” Lamberty said. “Then after awhile I was just playing basketball.”

Which she once again has proved she’s very good at.

Over her last 16 games Lamberty is averaging 11.8 points and has pulled in a slew of Big East Freshman of the Week awards.

Lamberty credited the support she received from her Creighton coaches and teammates for supporting her through the early struggles and helping her acclimate to this level.

“Syd’s always had it in her, it’s just a matter of when she builds up the confidence enough in herself and she feels that the people around her have that confidence in her, then she can play however she wants to, and she’s showing that at Creighton,” Park girls basketball coach Stephanie Tolkinen said. “ She just needs to believe in herself and know that the people around her truly believe in her and I think she’s getting that right now, she’s got that support and the sky’s the limit for her.”

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