PALATINE, Ill. – Opposing teams specifically game plan to stop Harper women's basketball standout center Monica Hinderer (Arlington Heights, Ill./The Willows Academy). A force to be reckoned with in the post, Hinderer sees double and triple teams all game long.
This hasn't stopped her from being a dominant force ranked near the top of the NJCAA in points and rebounds once again. The star center for the Hawks has become a more well-rounded player and taken on a leadership role in her sophomore year, and for these reasons she can lay claim to the 14th Harper College Athlete of the Week award. Hinderer is now a three-time winner of the honor; no other Hawk athlete has won the award more than once.
Hinderer earned Second Team All-Conference honors as a freshman, averaging nearly 20 points per game. Despite opposing teams packing their defenses into the lane to stop Hinderer, she has improved in nearly every statistical category.
Her 21.0 PPG ranks 16th in the nation while her 14.2 rebounds per game is sixth-best in the country. Hinderer has 18 double-doubles in 23 games for the Hawks.
She has also improved her field goal shooting from 44.5 percent last season to 48.9 percent this year and free throwing shooting from 58.4 percent to 60.8 percent. Additionally, Hinderer has added a jump shot to her repertoire to keep defenses honest and has even extended her range beyond the 3-point line. Last year she didn't even attempt a shot from deep, but this year she is 7-of-23 (30.4 percent) from beyond the arc.
Hinderer acknowledged her newfound jumper is starting to feel more natural, and she has also been working on her face-up moves in the post.
While the expanded range has allowed Hinderer to take less of a beating down in the post, Turpel is even more impressed with Hinderer's increased leadership role.
"I know she can handle pressure, and I'm telling her to be a leader and hold her teammates accountable," Turpel said. "I think she's stepped up."
Despite the Hawks' struggles this year, Hinderer has seen her team improve from earlier in the year, most notably two weeks ago when the Hawks led Joliet with under eight minutes to play. They ended up losing 69-58, but it was a far cry from a 36-point defeat back in early January against the same team.
Hinderer is on track to graduate in May with an Associate in Arts degree and is planning on majoring in psychology. She has received numerous letters, calls and emails from four-year college basketball programs across the country expressing interest.
Hinderer, who is Harper's second all-time leading scorer dating back to 2000 and needs only 59 points for 1,000 career points, is optimistic about the rest of the year.
"I know there are certain teams we can beat," she said. "I also know we can give other schools a run for their money in the playoffs."