Feb. 5, 2002
The Washington State women's basketball team has never had a player lead the Pacific-10 Conference in rebounding. That could change this season.
Senior center Brittney Hawks may open up a lumberyard with all the boards she is pulling down during her final campaign. The Rexburg, Idaho native is averaging nearly a double-double, with 13.8 points per contest and 9.8 rebounds. Hawks is second in the Pac-10 in rebounding, trailing only Stanford's Nicole Powell.
Hawks isn't from the Bill Russell school of rebounding. She doesn't break down film to study the tendencies of a particular shooters' missed baskets. To Hawks, rebounding is all about desire, something she has plenty of.
"I just go get the ball, basically," Hawks said. "Charles Barkley was a great rebounder and he wasn't the tallest player in the NBA. He was on a show once and they asked him about rebounding and he said, 'I just go and get the damn ball.' That's what I try and do. Coaches teach you to box out and that is important, but when it comes down to it, it's just whoever gets the ball."
Hawks has used that method successfully this season, but it was a struggle getting to the Pac-10 and WSU for the junior college transfer.
Despite averaging over 26 points per game for Madison High School at the Idaho state tournament her senior year, Division I schools weren't clamoring for her talent, so Hawks took her game to the College of Eastern Utah.
"I decided to go to junior college basically because of my sister," Hawks said. "She talked to me about the pros and cons and I felt it was the best choice."
Brittney's older sister, Natalie, got to watch her younger sibling dominate the junior college ranks first-hand. Hawks, who has three other sisters besides Natalie and a brother, recorded 19 double-doubles as a freshman and was named second team all-region. As a senior, she averaged a double-deuce with 20.4 points per game and 10.7 rebounds per outing, earning second team NJCAA All-America honors.
The next stop for Hawks was Washington State. It wasn't all smooth sailing in her initial season with the Cougars. Hawks realized during her junior campaign that she had to adapt her style of play for the Pac-10, as she averaged just over eight points a game and racked up three double-doubles.
"In the Pac-10, if you are playing against someone like Cori Enghusen (6-7 center from Stanford), if I would have stayed inside, she would have blocked me and given me problems all day," Hawks said. "I went outside and changed my game and took some outside shots. You have to adjust."
Hawks, who would like to work in schools and coach basketball and volleyball after college, made adjustments in the off season and is an inside-outside threat now for head coach Jenny Przekwas.
But it is her work in the paint that is garnering her the most attention midway through the 2002 season. She is two rebounds shy of the single season WSU record of 210 and has 10 double-doubles, giving her 13 for her career. The snowmobile enthusiast isn't worried about breaking any rebounding record, however.
"At the end of the season if I did (break the record), that would be great," Hawks said. "I'm just trying to make my team better. If that means I lead the Pac-10 in rebounding, then that would be great."
Improving her team and leading the conference in rebounding, sounds like another double-double for Hawks.