By Natalie Bober
It’s game day. The clock is winding down before the jump ball. Lake Forest College freshman and Pendleton, Indiana, native Kelsey Burton prepares for game time.
Burton was recently named the 2017-2018 Midwestern Conference (MWC) women’s basketball Newcomer of the Year.
The Newcomer of the Year is an annual award conferred on individuals competing for the first time (freshman or transfer) in the Midwestern Conference.
“I was very surprised to have received the award,” Burton said.
Burton was also named D3hoops.com Central Region Rookie of the Year on March 13.
The D3hoops.com Central Region Rookie of the Year award honors the top freshman in each region.
Lake Forest College women’s basketball Head Coach Tamlyn Tills, who is the 2018 MWC Coach of the Year, noted that Burton clearly deserves the Newcomer of the Year award.
“Kelsey has brought a tremendous amount of natural talent to our team -- it is very untapped, it is very raw, but it was very effective,” Tills said.
Besides praising Burton’s talent, Coach Tills commended Burton’s all-around game.
“She brings an inside game, an outside game, defense, and tenaciousness on the boards,” Tills said.
Burton, a 5-6 guard, has played in 26 games at Lake Forest College, averaging 14.2 points per game, with a total of 368 points.
Lake Forest College’s welcoming environment helped Burton adjust to collegiate basketball.
“At first it was a struggle being on my own, but it became easier once the season came around. Then I was busy every day, and I was with my best friends all the time.”
Burton’s successful transition from high school to collegiate basketball started with gaining confidence.
“In high school, I was afraid to shoot the ball because I didn’t want to be labeled a ball hog. Once I got to Lake Forest College, and when the season started, I saw how supportive my team was, and how they all wanted everyone to succeed,” Burton said.
“Gaining the confidence in myself that I needed in high school, but did not have, really allowed me to play the game that I know how to play.”
Burton credits her success to her teammates and coaches.
“My team showed me the support necessary for a good first year,” Burton said.
“My coaches also helped me gain my confidence. Whenever I would start to get down on myself, they were always picking me up and telling me how much everyone needed me to stay focused on the game.”
In the offseason, Burton plans to focus on defense, her shot, driving to the basket and having a quicker release, having a “better pull up jump shot instead of only shooting three pointers or layups,” Burton said.