Sophomore Lily Fandre battles defenders during their game against Yale on Nov. 17 at Stabler Arena. Fandre averages 10.3 points per game and has scored 72 points so far this season. (Lauren Slovensky/B&W Staff)

Women’s basketball sophomore prioritizes joy in the face of pressure


Raised by two former collegiate basketball players, sophomore Lily Fandre said she has always felt a lingering pressure to pursue the sport. After a breakout rookie season on the women’s basketball team, she’s made it her season goal to turn moments of pressure into moments of enjoyment.

Fandre said growing up in a basketball family was fun but came with its own set of problems and pressure. 

“My family knows a lot about basketball and sometimes I felt like I was being forced into it, but in the end, I really enjoyed it and enjoyed playing,” Fandre said. “It could be a lot of pressure at some points.”

Fandre’s parents met at the University of Minnesota Duluth, where they both played Division II basketball. Her brother also played throughout high school. Fandre said this meant she had a basketball in her hand before she could remember.

As a five-sport athlete, Fandre was constantly moving from the softball field to the volleyball court to the track. She said she dabbled in everything, but her main focus was always the sport she enjoyed the most: basketball.   

“My last year of high school I was on a high-level AAU team with a lot of now (Division I) players,” Fandre said. “I think that team really prepared me for college because there were harder practices and games and I was playing with elite players.”

Playing in college was Fandre’s goal since she was young, but playing at Lehigh was never necessarily on her radar. However, once Lehigh coaches reached out, she said there was a great connection from the start.

Coach Addie Micir said the coaches were impressed with her versatility and ability to play multiple positions, but it was her willingness and character that impressed them the most.

“There’s not a better person than (Fandre)to be around — and that goes from our basketball program to the athletics department to the school,” Micir said. “She is so awesome of a human, and the fact that she’s a really good basketball player makes her one special person.”

During her first season playing for Lehigh, Fandre recorded 119 rebounds and 209 points, making her a key contributor on last year’s roster and earning her a spot on the Patriot League All-Rookie team.

Fandre said she put more pressure on herself last season and didn’t enjoy her time on the court or with her team as much.

This season, Fandre said she’s putting the pressure aside and focusing on truly enjoying the environment, the team and the sport.

Six games in, this perspective shift is already evident to her coaches and teammates.

“Coming into the season, I could just tell she’s made tremendous strides in her confidence and comfortability on the court,” said junior guard Ella Stemmer. “I feel like she’s having more joy when she’s playing the game.”

Stemmer said Fandre can be heard cracking jokes and cheering on her teammates in practice, while still maintaining her serious work ethic and strong play on the court.

Micir said Fandre stepped up as a leader this season, especially because she connects with, celebrates and encourages her teammates.

She said she is one of the team’s most improved players, despite her already being one of the strongest players.

Fandre said she’s excited to continue improving her own play, work as a team toward every win and hopefully securing a Patriot League Championship title.

“She’s somebody who’s all over the floor. She’ll dive and she’ll get knocked around, but she’ll get back up and always has a smile on her face,” Micir said. “I’m always in shock and excited that she’s only a sophomore.” 

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