Now the head coach doesn’t know where the third-ranked Blinn College women’s basketball team would be without her.
Humphrey, a sharp-shooting guard out of Kendleton, Texas, has excelled with a superb 3-point shot and an improved defensive game that has given the Buccaneers (30-3) a boost ahead of their first game in this week’s NJCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship tournament.
“Coming out of high school, I couldn’t have imagined Hannah would be second in scoring two years in a row on a team that has won 58 games,” Jenkins said. “She has really worked hard to improve her game in all areas, but you definitely can’t ignore what she can do at the 3-point line.”
One season after averaging 11.7 points per game and shooting better than 30% from 3-point range on a team that earned a Region XIV championship, the Region XIV Tournament title, and a bid at nationals, Humphrey has evolved into a well-rounded player who is looking to keep her development moving forward. Though she’s scoring at a rate of 12.2 points per contest while hitting almost 35% of her attempts from downtown, Humphrey said improved defense and rebounding were atop her pre-season list of self-improvements.
“I love shooting 3s, but I made it a point to be better defensively and on the glass,” Humphrey said. “It helped listening to my coaches and going over the things on film that I was doing wrong. I went over the film again and again.”
At times last season, Jenkins sent Humphrey to the bench because of poor defensive play, but that hasn’t been the case this season, as it’s been much harder for the longtime coach to keep her on the bench.
“Hannah makes everybody else better without even knowing it,” he said. “She has defenses so worried about her at the 3-point line that everyone else on our team is open for a drive to the basket. Then she improved her on-ball defense; she can guard just about anybody with her quickness. She also became a really good defensive rebounder for us and added another reliable body under the basket. It has been a lot of fun to watch.”
While she continues to bolster her game in other areas, Humphrey is still quick to use her deep-shooting ability. She has 78 makes from long distance this season and averages 2.5 3-point buckets per game in 31 games played. She has converted six triples on two occasions this season and five in four other tilts.
“My dad said one of the first things I needed to be able to do was shoot 3s,” Humphrey said. “When I first started playing basketball, 3-pointers were the first thing I fell in love with and the more I shot them, the better I got at it. I love to shoot the long ball; it opens up our offense, and even if you’re not shooting from the arc, defenses defend you out there and your teammates get chances.”
Humphrey’s offensive prowess earned her Region XIV all-region and all-conference selections and she is eligible to be selected as an NJCAA Division I All-American.
“She has exceeded our expectations and she’s getting a lot of looks from Division I universities. It is well-deserved,” Jenkins said. “Her best basketball is ahead of her.”
The Buccaneers are seeded fifth in the national tournament and will open play against 21st-seeded North Dakota State College of Science at 3 p.m. on Friday, March 24, at the Rip Griffin Center in Lubbock, Texas.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 42 NJCAA national championships since 1987.