“Brooke Hinderliter is a Division I-caliber basketball player and a Division I-caliber athlete,” Slippery Rock women’s basketball head coach Bobby McGraw said of his freshman shooting guard. “For a freshman to have this type of success this early in, arguably the best Division II women’s conference in the country, is a shock.”
Through the first nine games of her first collegiate season, Hinderliter is averaging 8.4 points per game, 2.8 rebounds and one steal. She is the highest-scoring freshman in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Western Division, scoring 76 total points. Edinboro University freshman Michaela Barnes edges Hinderliter in points per game with 8.8 (70 total) but has only played eight games so far.
Coach McGraw thinks that Hinderliter could be the best high school recruit in the entire PSAC this year.
“There’s no doubt in my mind, she is the best freshman in the entire Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference without question,” McGraw said. “She’s the best freshman, hands down, in this conference, without question.”
Hinderliter, a Seminole, Pa. native, attended Redbank Valley high school, where she started on the varsity girl’s basketball team all four years. In her senior year at Redbank Valley, Hinderliter averaged 22.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.3 steals per game. Coming out of high school, she held the Redbank Valley all-time scoring record with 1,997 points scored and was ranked by MaxPreps.com as the 277th best recruit in all of Pennsylvania.
Hinderliter was a two-sport athlete at Redbank Valley, also throwing javelin on their track and field team. In her junior and senior years, Hinderliter took first and second, respectively, at the state championships. She said that although she enjoyed track, basketball was always her first choice.
“I had played basketball since second grade so I’ve always had a passion for that and loved it,” Hinderliter said. “I’m not sure if I’m doing track here yet, but basketball’s my first love.”
Hinderliter had originally committed to play basketball at Division I St Francis University (Pa.), but eventually decided to come to Slippery Rock following her official visit to the campus.
“I came here on a visit and I really liked the team and then I really liked (McGraw),” Hinderliter said. “It was close to home so I felt more comfortable.”
Coach McGraw said he feels like it was quality education that Slippery Rock provides that really won Hinderliter over.
“When she realized, heading into her senior year, that St. Francis, Pa. doesn’t have the quality education and physical education department that we have at The Rock, that’s how we got Brooke Hinderliter,” McGraw said. “Hats off to Randy Nichols and the P.E. department because that’s why Brooke Hinderliter’s here and not at a Division I school.”
A 4.02 GPA student in high school, Hinderliter said that adjusting to college athletics and academics all at the same time was a challenging transition.
“It is a lot harder. It’s harder to have assignments every day and try to keep track of them at the same time while having practice,” Hinderliter said. “In high school, it was really easy for me, but here it’s a little more of a challenge.”
Upon arriving at SRU, Hinderliter developed a quick relationship with senior team captain Lexi Carpenter. McGraw said that they spend a lot of time together after practices working to get better and that he likes playing both of them on the floor at the same time due to the chemistry they have developed.
“We both have the same mindset, both have the same goals,” Hinderliter said. “We’re always working and she’s always helping me get better.”
Hinderliter found success at The Rock very early on. In her first collegiate game against Johnson C. Smith University, she scored 18 points (a current a career high), leading SRU to a narrow 80-79 victory. Hinderliter has broken into double-digit scoring three other times, scoring 13 in a loss against Hillsdale College, scoring 11 in a win against Cheyney University and scoring 15 in an exhibition game against the University of Pittsburgh.
Hinderliter has shown that she can be deadly accurate when shooting the ball, making 26 of 54 attempted shots from the floor, a field goal percentage of 48.1 that would rank sixth in the PSAC if she had enough shot attempts to qualify. Hinderliter has also shown that she can be a clutch scorer late in the game, converting 22 of 27 free throws, a 81.5 free-throw percentage that ranks 10th in the conference.
Hinderliter has a lot of time left in college to realize her full potential, but for now, she’s not too worried about that.
“I really just want to be successful, that’s my main goal,” Hinderliter said. “I want to win here and I want to get a ring.”