Hatcher says farewell to college basketball

It’s been a long four years for Portland State senior Hiedi Hatcher, however, they’ve been very memorable ones.

Whether it was her recorded double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds at the end of the season, or her key runs that were instrumental in the Vikings’ defeat against Cal State Northridge, the Tumwater, Wash. native earned bragging rights as one of the most prolific athletes in PSU history.

As graduation draws near, the former women’s basketball player said it’s going to be difficult leaving everything behind.

Hatcher cherishes the friendships she’s made on the court. “Overcoming adversity … creates a really unique bond. There’s like four or five of us who stay together.”

Hatcher certainly made her mark at PSU. She ranked 16th in the Big Sky Conference in scoring and 15th in rebounds during the season.

“She was a role model both in word and in deed. We’re going to miss her a lot. She came to practice every day and really set the tone for us in practices,” said second year women’s head coach George Wolfe. “We had a very young squad. She was able to demonstrate to them how you go about being Division I material as an athlete and a student.”

Hatcher said that one of her most memorable moments this year was the Vikings’ final home game.

“My last college game was incredible because during my sophomore year we lost against Cal State Northridge,” she said. “We were undefeated but we could never beat them. This season wasn’t how we would have liked it record wise. The best memory was that last game.”

From Hatcher’s perspective, she felt like she accomplished everything this season except one thing:

“I just wish that I would have been able to lead the younger people in a way that we would have won. I was the only returning starter and you’re dealing with a bunch of older players and younger players. There’s a lot of potential and that’s what was so frustrating.”

In March, Hatcher was named to the All-Big Sky team, earning honorable mention honors. It was the third consecutive time the senior received the award.

“I just expected it because I have pretty high academic expectations. To me it really doesn’t matter in some ways. I would have rather won more basketball games than winning these awards,” she said with a laugh. “I guess it comes with the territory.”

Hatcher also said being a student-athlete throughout college has been no easy task, especially when it came to things you have to leave behind.

“You sacrifice a lot of personal and social time. You don’t have a regular college career,” she said. “You’ll travel and you won’t get home until Sunday night. A lot of time is taken away. I think that’s the most difficult thing.”

She said the possibility of playing in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) crosses her mind, however, she said she would rather play elsewhere before she would consider entering the draft.

“I’d play overseas first. I would really consider it as an option. I just want to get some more experience and play more. I would consider WNBA better than the European league, but I would go over there and get some more experience.”Hatcher, who will graduate with a degree in psychology and a minor in women’s studies this month, plans on working with schools after graduation.

“I’m going to be in Houston for the summer training and I have two years in the Bay Area. It’s the Teach for America program. It’s public schools and it’s just really schools that don’t have that much funding.”

Hatcher’s contributions to the team speak for themselves. She ranks as the fifth-leading rebounder (612) and 11th-leading scorer (968) in Vikings history. She’ll leave PSU tied for seventh-place in games started (82), 10th in field goal attempts (972) and eighth in double-figure scoring games (55).

“Hiedi was the winner of the Viking award exemplifying all the qualities that we look for in a college athlete,” Wolfe said. “She’s been carrying about a 3.5 G.P.A all years. She led us in minutes played, points scored, rebounds and she was No. 2 in assists.”

And to add to those achievements, Hatcher was even more productive in Big Sky action, averaging 11.2 points and 6.4 rebounds and shooting 44.6-percent from the field.

“From a basketball perspective, she has the ability that she could go play somewhere,” Wolfe concluded. “She’s got a real bright future. She’s a well-rounded student-athlete and a well-rounded person.”