Lamb feature

Kentucky Wesleyan’s Keelie Lamb shoots a layup over Tiffin’s Jensen Hiegel during the first round of the Women’s G-MAC Tournament on March 3 at the Sportscenter.

After helping the Kentucky Wesleyan College women’s basketball team to one of its best seasons in school history, senior Keelie Lamb has been named to the NCAA Division II Conference Commissioners Association All-Midwest Region second team.

It’s the first time in program history that any Panther has received such a distinction.

This season, Lamb posted a team-best 14.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game while helping the Panthers go 28-3 and finish the year ranked No. 24 in the country.

The 5-foot-10 forward also added 2.9 assists and 1.5 steals per outing while shooting 48% from the field, 37% from 3-point distance and 74% from the free-throw line.

According to KWC co-head coach Nicole Nieman, Lamb’s recognition was earned, not given.

“The cool thing about Keelie getting that award is she’s a four-year player,” Nieman said. “She didn’t start as a freshman. She played minutes, but she definitely allowed herself to get better over the next three years.

“Every year, she got continually better.”

For her efforts, Lamb also earned her second straight selection to the Great Midwest Athletic Conference’s first team, with three All-G-MAC honors in her career.

Lamb’s accolades came as no surprise to Nieman, who saw first-hand the amount of work that was put in during each offseason.

“She came in with some great understanding as far as offseason work was concerned,” Nieman said of the Livingston, Tennessee, native. “Having a dad who’s a football coach, she was constantly in the weight room — that wasn’t something we had to introduce to her.

“She was able to build a bunch of strength that way, and it allowed her to get faster and stronger, to be more physical and to use her body even more.”

Lamb’s length was always a positive dating back to high school, Nieman added, but it was her all-around game that showed the most improvement over the last four seasons.

“Defensively, she was always somebody that could go out there and defend anybody,” Nieman said. “It was a natural fit for us, because she was fast enough to guard a guard but long enough to front a post — with her increasing her strength, she became a defender at any position.

“She didn’t come in with a great shot, but she was willing to work on it. She was always a good driver, but expanding her game to the 3-point line made her more well-rounded.”

Lamb finishes her career with 1,265 points and became the 20th Panther to surpass the 1,000-point mark. Throughout her career, Lamb recorded 515 rebounds, 266 assists and 180 steals. She also finished 55-8 in home contests, which includes a 34-game winning streak that Wesleyan will carry into 2020-21.

KWC coaches also know Lamb — the team’s lone senior on the floor — and her versatility will be difficult to replicate.

“She wasn’t just a one-position player,” Nieman said. “She’s definitely somebody that’s hard to replace.

“She understood what she needed to do in multiple positions. When you’re running different sets and different plays and she’s playing three different positions, it really allowed us to do a lot of different things around her.”

Aside from her on-floor production, Nieman stressed that Lamb will be missed as a locker room presence and a teammate more than anything.

“We’re proud to be able to have her,” Nieman said. “She’s been a delight to have here for four years.”

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