The sophomore on the USI women’s basketball team has been named Player of the Month by the Women’s Division II Bulletin, and she deserves every bit of that accolade. Over the last nine games, all in January, she’s averaged a double-double, with 16.9 points and 10.9 rebounds. She’s also shooting 53 percent from the field and has registered five double-doubles in points and rebounds, including four in a row and seven for the season.
Somebody asked me the other day if she could wind up being selected as the national player of the year, and I said it really depends on what USI does in the postseason, especially how deep they go in the NCAA Tournament (if they get in, of course). That said, I think she’s well on her way to being named a D-II all-American if she keeps this up. And she just keeps getting better and better. Why, over the last three games — which the Eagles have lost — she’s averaged 17.3 points and 13.7 rebounds. That includes the career-high 20 rebounds she pulled down against Kentucky Wesleyan.
I can’t remember a women’s player at USI who’s been this effective since the last time I covered the Eagles more than 10 years ago. The only player who was similar from that period was all-American Eileen Weber, who also stood over 6 feet. But she was more of a slasher and shooter while Hackert is a muscle-it-up, take-over-the-entire-space-under-the-basket bruiser. One thing they have in common is an extremely soft touch around the basket.
I recall lots of people declaring that coach Rick Stein got a steal when he signed Hackert out of Memorial High School. She would have been the star player on any other team, but she was second to Mallory Ladd on the Tigers’ roster — and Ladd went on to finish second for the Miss Basketball award, play on the Indiana All-Star Team and is now starring at the University of Evansville. And USI fans get to enjoy Hackert for two more years.