By Zac Tallent
For the first time in a decade, the women’s basketball team clinched their spot in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament. The Ravens faced off against Bluffton University in a hard-fought battle. Although the game didn’t end in the way the Ravens would have liked, it left a positive feeling over the team.
Ravens center Hannah Hawkins blocked her way into the record book this season. The junior from Fairmount, Indiana broke the AU Division III era record for blocked shots in a regular season, blocking 58. She also broke the career blocked shots record with 136 blocks in her career with a full season still to play next year.
Hawkins started all but four games this year for the Ravens as she was recovering from an ankle injury that happened late in the season. She averaged 8.9 points per game, 7.3 rebounds per game, and shot 77% from the free-throw line on the year, but it was her defense that had opposing teams afraid to come inside the paint.
On Feb. 1, Hawkins had nine blocks against the Earlham College Quakers at O.C. Lewis Gymnasium, which shattered the previous record of six blocks in a game.
Hawkins was referred to as the “quarterback of the Ravens defense” by Head Coach Lindsay Shade.
“She brings consistent energy every single day to practice and to games,” said Shade. “She has a great personality and is really well-liked by her teammates which is important in a leadership position.”
Shade also spoke on the defensive development of Hawkins, seeing her grow from her freshman year to now. Shade recalled the moment in the middle of her sophomore year when it clicked for Hawkins on the defensive side of the court.
“The biggest thing that has had an impact on her defensive development is the understanding of our scheme and knowing the scouting report and what we are trying to do with other teams,” Shade said.
Hawkins stands at 6-foot-2; when she is in the middle of the floor, defenses know where she is.
“Communication is the most important thing,” said Hawkins. “When I’m playing, I feel like it’s very necessary for me to be talking constantly to everybody.”
Hawkins is looking forward to taking the defensive momentum into the off-season and next season with her teammates.
“My favorite part of playing defense is when we all communicate together to get a stop and someone can go the other way with it and get a bucket,” said Hawkins.
The Ravens will return with all but one player next year, as senior forward Carly Hackler will graduate. They look to start a streak of HCAC tournament appearances and take the defense to the next level in the upcoming season.