It didn’t take long for Myisha Hines-Allen to announce her presence as formidable post player for Louisville a season ago.
On a team with senior post players like Sara Hammond and Shawnta Dyer, Hines-Allen scored in double figures in every one of her first 10 collegiate games and put together a stellar freshman year that earned her to being named to the preseason All-ACC team third team this year.
Playing in every single game last season, Hines-Allen averaged 11.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.
First in field goal percentage, second in scoring and third in rebounding isn’t a bad way to start a career, and on top of it, the 6-foot-2 forward led the Cardinals in postseason scoring on their way to a Sweet 16 appearance.
But, Hines-Allen was determined to stave off a potential sophomore slump and spent the offseason competing for a spot on the United States Pan-Am team and World University team while focusing on other aspects of her game as well.
“Myisha went out and tried out in Colorado Springs for the Pan Am Team and the World University team,” head coach Jeff Walz said. “She did not make either one, but as a freshman it was a great experience for her. For her to see the amount of talent that was out there and I think she really has a hunger within her now of wanting to be special, of wanting to be great.”
Even though she didn’t make either team, the sophomore said it was a fun experience highlighted by playing against Connecticut Huskie senior forward Brianna Stewart, who is widely considered the best player in the country.
“I got to meet players who are considered the top players in the country in the junior and senior class,” Hines-Allen said. “It was me and three other sophomores that were there, so we were the youngest ones trying out for the team, just being considered one of the best with them was an honor.”
Once she returned to Louisville, the former McDonald’s All-American from Montclair, New Jersey went to work on her game.
Hines-Allen played only 20 minutes per game last year, and early in the 2014-15 season, Walz was critical of her conditioning and stamina.
With five departing seniors—three of them being post players—and the loss of forward Emmonnie Henderson for the season, Hines-Allen prepared physically to play more minutes.
“I knew from preseason that I would be in a lot better shape. I stayed here the whole summer, and this is the first time that I have pushed myself hard in the off season that gets me 10 times better,” Hines-Allen said. “I love that most because I feel like I’m in better shape and you feel much better about yourself just knowing you can run up and down the court for a whole game.”
Along with conditioning, Hines-Allen continued to develop her jump shot, which she sprinkled in at times last season. Finishing the year shooting 55.8 percent from the field, good for thirteenth best nationally, Hines-Allen scores a large portion of her points around the rim.
“I worked a lot on my jump shot in the off season. Last year I got a lot of lay ups for points, and I want to see if I can improve myself even more by shooting jump shots,” Hines-Allen said. “I think this season you’ll see me shooting a lot more.”
To add to her versatility, Hines-Allen also worked on her ball handling skills in the offseason.
While Hines-Allen and sophomore Mariya Moore were potent scorers on a veteran laden team last year, the two transition to leaders this season with eight newcomers alongside of them.
“We have all done our share and done a good job of stepping up and becoming leaders,” Hines-Allen said.
As one of the few veterans on a young team, Hines-Allen’s commitment to becoming a leader is nearly a necessity.
“Myisha Hines-Allen has really stepped up in that area,” Walz said. “Her effort day in and day out on the practice floor has been fantastic.”
An expanded role with added versatility will help Hines-Allen continued to make an impact for the eighth-ranked Cardinals.
“She is really, really improved, and I’m really excited for her to be able to show that off this upcoming season,” Walz said.