Hawkins’s entire basketball career has been about transformation, not just her body and attitude but also her shot. Her jump shot has vastly improved over the last four years, presenting matchup difficulties for most opponents her size.
At one end, Hawkins can outmuscle other forwards to carve out room for a defensive rebound, move quickly down the court on a fast break and pull up for a mid-range shot or even a three-pointer. She has made seven three-pointers this season after making none over her first three years.
Hawkins’s face-up game has allowed her to become that much more involved in Maryland’s half-court offense as well, coming off screens and drawing bigger defenders outside so teammates such as junior forward Alyssa Thomas have a clearer path to the basket.
It’s no coincidence that while Hawkins is having her most productive season, so too is Thomas, who recently became the first in Maryland women’s history to be named ACC player of the year twice.
Hawkins initially began showing promise from the outside as a freshman in high school at National Christian, where she played for two years before finishing at Riverdale Baptist. Hawkins frequently practiced with the boys’ team at National Christian and worked with Coach Trevor Brown on refining her release.
“When I first saw her shoot the ball, I was like, ‘Man, this girl is going to be able to play inside and outside,’ ” Brown said.
Hawkins’s versatility has been especially valuable this season because of injuries that have depleted Maryland’s rotation. Frese has had to piece together a back court following season-ending ACL injuries suffered by guards Brene Moseley and Laurin Mincy. Freshman forward Tierney Pfirman also has been in and out of the starting lineup because of injury and illness.
Over the last three games, Hawkins is averaging 16.3 points, 11 rebounds and two assists and has made 3 of 6 three-pointers. She’s reached double figures in both scoring and rebounding in nearly half of Maryland’s games this season and has done so 39 times overall after being ranked 133rd in her recruiting class coming out of high school.
“I like kids that don’t know how good they are,” Frese said. “It is truly rewarding when you’re in a profession like this to watch that evolution in their four years. I think that’s probably the best part of our job.”