For the first time ever, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) bestowed its Division III Female National Player of the Week accolade on a Case Western Reserve University athlete. On Tuesday, USBWA selected Kara Hageman, a junior forward, for the honor.
“It means a lot to me to receive this honor. I still am in a bit of a disbelief about the whole thing,” Hageman said. “Even though this is an individual recognition, I truly think it is a reflection of the whole team because I would not have been able to do it without each and every single one of them. It is an accomplishment that we can all be proud of.”
In a week that saw her break program and conference records, Hageman averaged 34.5 points over two games—a 80-78 win over the University of Chicago on Friday and a 92-79 loss to No. 11-ranked Washington University in St. Louis on Sunday.
Facing Washington University in St. Louis, Hageman scored 41 points, toppling the CWRU program’s previous record of 38 points in a game, set by Evy Iacono during the 2012-13 season.
With that record-setting performance, Hageman became just the second women’s basketball player in University Athletic Association (UAA) conference history to score 40 or more points in a UAA game. She also set program and conference records for field goals in a game, going 16-for-21 from the field and three-for-four from the three-point range.
During the game, Hageman didn’t even realize that she was nearing a record.
“I just tried to keep taking what the defense was giving me, and tried to get the best shot off each time. I also think my teammates did a great job of looking for me and getting me the ball when I was open,” she said. “Jess McCoy [senior guard] gave so many great passes and really was the reason I was able to score. She herself even scored her 1,000th career point during this game.”
Hageman helped the Spartans edge the University of Chicago with 28 points, which was her career-high entering the game. She went nine-for-15 from the field, with a career-best four three-pointers on six attempts. She also collected six rebounds, three assists and a block during the game.
Throughout the week, she averaged 5.5 rebounds, while shooting 69.4 percent from the field and 70.0 percent from behind the three-point line.
Also for her performance in the last week, Hageman was named the University Athletic Association Athlete of the Week for women’s basketball, and was selected to the D3hoops.com Team of the Week. It was the first time she had received either award.
Over the course of the season, Hageman has averaged 20.7 points per game and 6.4 rebounds, while shooting 52.9 percent from the floor.
After last weekend, the Spartans stood at 11-7 on the season, with a 3-4 mark against UAA competition.
“I think [Sunday’s] game has definitely raised personal and team expectations,” Hageman said. “This will help propel us forward into the second half of UAA play and motivate us to keep working hard every day at practice.”
The Spartans will be on the road this weekend, taking the court Friday, Feb. 3, at the University of Chicago and Sunday, Feb. 5, at Washington University in St. Louis.
This is the third season that the USBWA has recognized national players of the week from Division III.