Brooke Hampton, senior guard for the West Virginia women’s basketball team, knows this is her last go around in a WVU jersey, and so far, she has taken the opportunity and proved to be one of head coach Mike Carey’s best bench players.
Her season began when the Mountaineers were ejected from the NCAA Tournament by Delaware in the first round in March. Carey told his team they would improve next year and to remain strong in the offseason. Hampton, however, didn’t wait until her team returned to schedule workouts in preparation the for next season.
“I started getting back into the gym and shooting during the summer,” Hampton said. “I wanted to work on my shot to get my confidence back up. The workouts in the summer are what have helped my confidence so much.”
Hampton’s confidence is so high that her teammates and coaches have begun to take notice. Following a 94-47 win against Fairleigh Dickinson, Hampton led all bench-scorers with a then-season-high 13 points, which included three 3-pointers while dishing out five assists. After the game, her coach praised her efforts, noting how confident his senior was playing.
“Brooke is playing with confidence,” he said. “She knows she is going to get a lot of time, and you need to play with a lot of confidence. She is doing that.
“We need Brooke to shoot to get people off our post players.”
Hampton’s strong shooting performances off the bench this year have helped alleviate some of the defensive pressure her fellow senior, Asya Bussie, faces.
In many of West Virginia’s games this season, Bussie has a seen strong defensive pressure from the opposing team. With Hampton and other guards draining shots from the perimeter, teams are now forced to come up and guard them, giving Bussie more free space to work on the block.
As Hampton produces, Carey awards her more playing time. Last season Hampton only appeared in 27 games, during which she averaged nine minutes per game and 1.5 points. With her summer workouts and newfound confidence, Hampton has played in every game so far in the 2013-14 season and is now averaging 20.5 minutes per game while scoring 4.3 points.
Hampton’s extended minutes have helped spark her team to their best start in the Big 12. The Mountaineers currently sit at No. 4 in the conference after suffering a loss to No. 7 Baylor Wednesday night.
They have a chance to enter back into the top three as they prepare to travel to Iowa State for another Wednesday night matchup.