Only 12 players in the history of Slippery Rock women’s basketball have reached the elusive 1,000-point milestone. In the past 14 years, only former Rock guard/forward D’Asia Chambers has joined the millennium club.
It is time to add junior guard Brooke Hinderliter to that exclusive group of women.
“It means a lot and I’m just glad that I can be a part of it,” Hinderliter said.
Needing just five points coming into the Green and White’s Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference-West matchup with Edinboro University to crack 1,000 points, Hinderliter only needed the first quarter to reach the lofty mark.
Hinderliter connected on an early three-point attempt—an area of her game that was initially a weakness when arriving at The Rock—to inch closer to 1,000. With one minute left in the first quarter, Hinderliter forced a Fighting Scots’ turnover and dribbled the length of the court for an unassisted fast-break layup.
A three-pointer, a steal and a layup were all that she needed to reach an even 1,000 points.
Slippery Rock coach Bobby McGraw may not have known that he was getting a player who may well become a Hall of Famer at The Rock, but he knew that Hinderliter was a special talent straight out of high school.
“She’s a tireless worker. As soon as she arrived on campus, I already knew she’d be a special player. But when you have someone with that much physical ability, that much skill and has that kind of work ethic, that takes them to the next level. Brooke Hinderliter will end up in the Hall of Fame here. There’s no doubt in my mind,” McGraw said.
A gifted prep school scorer at Redbank Valley High School, Hinderliter’s scoring aptitude has obviously carried over to the collegiate ranks. McGraw attributes the talented junior’s strength and athleticism in enabling her to be able to drive to the basket any time she touches the ball.
“She is one of the, hands down, most athletic players I’ve ever coached on the women’s side,” said McGraw. “Plenty of women who transfer here, or play pick up here say Brooke is the strongest female they have ever played against.”
While Hinderliter’s scoring acumen has dominated the headlines for obvious reasons, the completeness of her overall game sets her apart from other guards in the PSAC.
Playing in every possible game since coming to The Rock, Hinderliter has started all but one of those games.
The junior from Seminole, Pa. has also led the team in total minutes the past two seasons. McGraw stressed the fact that every successful team needs a workhorse and how Hinderliter has taken strides to become just that for the Green and White.
Heavy workloads may seem unappealing to collegiate players balancing class work, personal lives and the change that college can be for students, in addition to basketball, but Hinderliter has always just wanted to be competing out on the court.
“I just knew that I had to come in and work hard, and, honestly, I just wanted to get on the court and play,” said Hinderliter.
One of the best rebounding guards in the PSAC since stepping onto the court at Morrow Field House, Hinderliter has turned the two most glaring holes in her game into positions of strength for The Rock.
“The first thing she improved the most is her defense. She faced double and triple teams every night in high school, so the offense is a premium for her,” McGraw said. “In her league, few and far between, she saw people with the ability they have in the PSAC, so her defense has improved tremendously.”
Hinderliter’s ability to lock down an opposing team’s leading scorer and the respect defenders must give her due to the emergence of a reliable jump shot leaves very few questions as to who the best guard in the PSAC is, according to McGraw.
“You look at the statistical numbers, Brooke Hinderliter is the best guard in the PSAC. The way she scores, the way she rebounds the ball, the way she shoots free throws. Brooke means a ton to us. When Brooke is rolling during a game, we are tough to beat–especially with everyone we have around her,” said McGraw.
Only a junior, Hinderliter has seven games remaining this season and all of next season to continue to climb the all-time scoring leaderboard and leave her mark at The Rock. At her current pace, Hinderliter would finish with 1,526 points. That would be good for third all-time at The Rock.
With No. 10 California University (Pa.) visiting Morrow Field House and a losing streak dating back almost two decades possibly on the cards, Hinderliter made 13 of 13 free attempts, including six of six in the final two minutes, to lead The Rock to a 72-61 victory. Hinderliter led all scorers with 27 points and chipped in eight rebounds and three steals.
Ending a losing streak dating back 35 games and providing a jolt for a team that had lacked remarkable moments, the talented junior guard made a lasting mark on Rock women’s basketball history. A few more wins this season, starting by bouncing back from a harsh loss to Indiana University (Pa.), and The Rock will be back in the Tournament hunt.
While Hinderliter is focused on playing basketball, McGraw has given a bit of thought about where the high-scoring guard will rank when she finally plays her last game at The Rock.
“There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind—I’m just talking statistically—she’ll be one of the five best guards to play here,” said McGraw. “I’ve thought about this and I’ve been asked this before, and if you’re a numbers person, there’s no question. Then you start talking about team success and all that good stuff.”
With a strong finish to this season leading to a potential run through the PSAC Tournament and a full, dialed-in senior season, the hype around Hinderliter will only get louder. She has a lot of basketball left to play, and by the time she is done, Brooke Hinderliter may be the best women’s basketball player to ever play for Slippery Rock University.
Rock women’s basketball will be back in action against Seton Hill University on Saturday at the Katherine Mabis Mckenna Center. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m.