Hayley Hodgins has been on a tear.
The 2011 Chiawana graduate has scored in double digits the last five games for the Eastern Washington women’s basketball team and has moved into the starting lineup.
All of this comes after spending most of the season toiling on the bench.
“I guess I’ve just become more comfortable with the team and my role,” Hodgins said. “I think I’ve kind of reverted to what I did in high school and how I know how to play. It took me a little bit.”
What she was in high school was a dominant scorer, and it is something she hopes comes with time at the college level.
Hodgins’ scoring binge — capped by a 22-point performance against Portland State on Monday — has helped the Eagles (10-8 overall, 6-3 Big Sky) move into third place in the conference.
Eastern hosts Southern Utah at 2:05 p.m. today before traveling to Montana State and Montana next weekend in a pair of big games.
Hodgins’ recent play has been noticed throughout the conference, as she earned the Big Sky Player of the Week award, and that was before she dominated Portland State.
“It is just taking the shots that come to me,” she said. “I don’t have to force anything. I’m obviously a shooter. I’ve been getting shots in rhythm in our offense and just taking what comes. My team is more comfortable with me shooting and scoring, and some plays are coming to me more and more.”
Hodgins red-shirted last year, spending the time in the gym and practices, as well as individual workouts with coaches.
At the beginning of this season, it took a little while to get back into the flow of games after taking the year off.
She also struggled a bit from being the alpha player for Chiawana and just one of a group of strong players at Eastern.
“Every college is like that,” she said. “The best of the best go and further their career. It is kind of just figuring out what is best for the team, and how to adjust my own play for this team.”
Her hard work is definitely paying off.
Through the first 12 games of the season, her career-high in points was six. Then came the recent flourish.
She scored 16 on 6-of-10 shooting against Northern Arizona, 10 on 3-of-8 shooting against Sacramento State, 16 on 5-of-10 shooting against North Dakota, 17 on 7-of-7 shooting against Northern Colorado, and then the 22 against PSU on 7-of-16 shooting.
She has started the last two games and is hoping her strong play continues the second half of the conference season.
“I obviously know there will be games you don’t score as much, but that is why you have to play good defense and be a good passer and a good teammate,” Hodgins said. “You can’t do everything perfect every game. I know that, my team knows that. Everyone has their ups and downs during the season, but I’m trying to be consistent and the team is playing well.”