|Hannah Douglas' career-high in points actually came vs. Wright State, when she scored 31 points in a game for Butler.
DePauw athletics photo
By Brian Lester
Hannah Douglas’ basketball career could have gone in a lot of directions when she decided to transfer from Butler.
She could have been at Florida Gulf Coast right now playing for the 20th-ranked team in the nation.
She could have also had her career shortened after fighting through a shoulder injury during her sophomore season with the Bulldogs.
Instead, Douglas stayed close to home and found a home at DePauw. One of the assistant coaches at Butler suggested the Division III national power as an option.
The Indiana native decided that was the place to be.
“It was a hard decision,” said Douglas, a senior guard for the Tigers. “I’m a family-oriented person and I didn’t want to go to Florida and be far away where my family wouldn’t be able to see a lot of games. I’m happy with my decision. I couldn’t ask for a better situation to be in.”
It has worked out well for Douglas, who has helped put the ninth-ranked Tigers in contention for another national championship. DePauw (25-2) is headed to the Sweet 16 this weekend to take on unbeaten and sixth-ranked Calvin (27-0) in Michigan.
Douglas ranks third on the team in scoring, pouring in 11.3 points per game, and has proven to be an unselfish player as well, dishing out 63 assists. She also gets the job done on defense, racking up 38 steals and blocking 31 shots.
“She is a special player,” DePauw coach Kris Huffman said. “She has made a big impact for us on defense and also does a lot for us offensively. I’m proud of the way she came in last year and fit right in with this team. She has been a great addition.”
Douglas could have easily remained at Butler, as she was a key contributor in her two seasons with the Bulldogs. She started 57 games, averaging 8.6 points and 4.4 rebounds as a sophomore.
But Butler wasn’t the right fit and that led to her decision to transfer.
Change is never easy. Douglas’ change came with added difficulty as she was still recovering from her injury when she arrived at DePauw.
“Last year was definitely interesting, especially not being at 100 percent,” Douglas said. “It was a process to overcome the injury, and really, a mental grind more than anything. The trainers were a big help in getting me through the challenge. They helped me come back at the right pace. Now, I don’t really ever feel like I was ever hurt.”
In 31 games last season, Douglas averaged 8.8 points per outing. Her scoring average has increased this season (11.5) and it’s as if she never played at another school.
“The most challenging thing for me was getting used to a different system,” Douglas said. “It was hard to transition over to it, but my teammates were great. They were so welcoming and would stay after practice to make sure I was comfortable with everything. I’m very blessed to play for such a great team.”
Douglas is one piece to the puzzle for the Tigers, who took down Hanover (83-57) and Maryville (76-53) to punch a ticket to the second weekend of the tournament.
This Tigers team has plenty of balance – six players average five or more points per outing – and it thrives off stellar defensive play, allowing less than 53 points (52.6) per contest.
Savannah Trees, who had a significant amount of playing time on the Tigers’ 2012 national championship team, leads the way (15.9 points per game) and became the program’s all-time leading scorer in the win over Maryville, pushing her career scoring total to 1,447 points.
“We have a lot of experienced players on this team and there isn’t just one player we rely on,” Huffman said. “If someone has an off day, someone else will step up.”
Douglas has done her part to be a leader on a team with six seniors, noting that it has been one of her biggest improvements as a player during her college career.
“I used to be timid but I’ve become much more of a vocal leader, both on and off the court,” Douglas said. “My coach has played a big part in me being a leader. She really pushed me to take on that role.”
Beating Calvin won’t be easy, especially on the road, although the Tigers are 10-0 away from home.
“Calvin is the real deal,” Huffman said. “They have an outstanding basketball team. They play well in transition and shoot the ball extremely well. They are tough to defend. We have to be very good on defense this weekend.”
Douglas echoes those thoughts. As for how her college career has played out, she has no regrets.
She loves having an opportunity to compete in the postseason and wants to make this tournament run last as long as possible.
No matter what the outcome is, it’s been quite an experience.
“As a senior, you don’t want your season to end. We’re motivated to go as far as we can,” Douglas said. “It’s such a huge blessing to play college basketball. Not everyone gets that chance. I’m very lucky and excited that we are still playing.”