Tianna Hawkins takes charge at Maryland

January 24, 2013 - 6:08am
Maryland's Tianna Hawkins leads the ACC in points (18.9) and rebounding (10.4). (Photo by Kelly Kline)

Maryland's Tianna Hawkins leads the ACC in points (18.9) and rebounding (10.4). (Photo by Kelly Kline)

So who leads Maryland in scoring and rebounding?

The default answer is Alyssa Thomas, the All-American and 2012 ACC Player of the Year -- but the correct answer is Tianna Hawkins. The 6-3 senior forward is currently averaging 18.9 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, leading the ACC in both categories, just ahead of Thomas who is second in the conference with 16.8 points 10.3 rebounds per game (at least for now, the two have swapped spots several times). But no matter who's on top today, Hawkins is having an All-American type of season.

Both Thomas and Hawkins are on the Wooden Award midseason top 20 list, and the only the only player on that list who has a better scoring and rebounding average than Hawkins is Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike (22 pts, 11.9 rebounds). Hawkins, in fact, is averaging more rebounds than Brittney Griner, Stefanie Dolson, Kelsey Bone, Elizabeth Williams and Elena Delle Donne.

Hawkins has scored more than 1,300 career points and is rapidly closing in on the 1,000 rebound plateau (currently at 942), which has only been reached twice at Maryland -- by Crystal Langhorne and Marissa Coleman, both first round picks in the WNBA draft. The former Riverdale Baptist star could go as high as the fourth pick in the draft given the fact that Washington Mystics' coach and general manager Mike Thibault has been a regular fixture at the Comcast Center ever since taking over.  But let's not get ahead of things: Hawkins, who has been dubbed "T-Hawk" by the Maryland fans, still has a national championship in her sights.

We caught up with Hawkins earlier this week after she put on a 16 point, 14 rebound performance in the Terps win over Georgia Tech.

Full Court:  What part of your game do you take the most pride in?

Tianna Hawkins:  Rebounding. It’s just having that instinct that once the ball goes up, I have to go get it.

FC: What do you do to mentally prepare for a game?

TH: I just go out and face every game with confidence.  I say to myself, "Go have a good game" and then I just play hard.

FC: What game or team do you look forward to playing the most?

TH: (smile) Of course it’s Duke, 'cause it’s always Maryland or Duke (at the top of the ACC) and Duke is always put ahead of Maryland, so we just want to come out and make a statement.

FC: What’s it like playing with all-American Alyssa Thomas?

TH: It’s tremendous playing with her, she’s always hard working, she has a great work ethic.  She’s always the first in the gym getting extra work in and when we hit the floor she is always going hard.

FC: Are the two of you competitive against each other? Do you try and out rebound her or get more points than her?

TH: I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s competitive, it’s just one night she might be on fire, the other night I’m on fire, so it’s like we play off each other. If she’s having a hot night, I try to get the ball to her and vice-versa.

FC: Your team has faced a lot of injuries and right now you’re playing with just eight players, so as a senior do you feel a little extra pressure to step up for your team?

TH: I’d say yes and no. I do have to step up in tight games with the youth that we have on our team, so I do step up from a leadership role perspective.  With the short bench, it’s just us coming together every game and playing for each other and celebrating our success.

FC: Has your team had to adjust their goals because of the injuries?

TH: No, we still have a championship mentality. Our motto this year is "All in to win", so no matter who goes down, everyone is in it, regardless if they are on the bench or on the floor. We are all in this together.

FC: Who is the player on your team that you go to for advice?

TH:  I would say Essence Townsend. We’ve become a lot closer over the years and we’ve matured a lot.

FC: You are a criminal justice major -- where do you hope that takes you?

TH: Eventually I would like to be a federal agent, but I have to start somewhere, so I’m looking at different law enforcement positions once I graduate or after I play ball professionally.

FC: So if you were able to play the part of federal agent in a major Hollywood movie, who would you pick to be your co-star?

TH: (laughs) I would say Bones, my teammate Brene Moseley, because she is my partner in crime. Her and I have a lot of fun together.

FC: If you could play one-on-one with someone, who would it be?

TH: Carmelo Anthony, that’s my favorite player. I like the way he plays, I’m just a huge fan.

FC: What kind of music are you listening to right now? What’s on your pre-game playlist?

TH: I listen to a lot of hip-hop, something to get me going -- sometimes I dance a little bit in the locker room. Every song on my playlist is upbeat, something to get me hype, such as “Pop That” (French Montana), “Bandz a Make Her Dance” (Juicy J), “I Do It” (Big Sean), “Bring It Back” (Travis Porter).