Athletes of the Week: Anna Graaskamp and Hallee Hoeppner
The Blugold women’s basketball team is coming off two impressive WIAC wins over UW-Stout and UW-Platteville. Seniors Hallee Hoeppner and Anna Graaskamp are leading the team in the right direction. The two are our Osseo Automotive Athletes of the Week. SportScene 13’s Neil Hebert reports.
“They’ve been starting since they were freshman,” Tonja Englund, the Blugolds’ head coach, said of forward Anna Graaskamp and guard Hallee Hoeppner.
The duo is back together on the court in their senior seasons. Graaskamp missed all of the 2018-19 season due to injury, forcing Englund to move Hoeppner to a new position. Hoeppner went on to win the WIAC Player of the Year, along with being named an All-American, but she’s happy to have her teammate since her freshman year back on the court with her.
“Graas (Graaskamp) does a great job at setting a good example for everybody else,” Hoeppner said of her teammate. “She works hard, and she’s always there to hit a turnaround jump shot. It’s nice having her back. She did a great job of giving me advice last year, and now it’s nice to be able to play alongside her and not have her as just a voice of input on the bench.”
“It feels really good to be back,” Graaskamp said. “Last year was tough sitting there watching everyone, but Hallee had a great year, so that was great to see. Now, getting to be able to come back and play with her has been really fun. I’m just really glad to be back out there.”
“Now, having the two of them back, you can really see that they’re looking for each other,” Englund said. “A lot of times they’re facing double or triple teams, and so together, it forces teams to have to choose who they’re going to help off of, and we just go with the two of them, whichever one is harder to guard at the time.”
The duo is averaging over 25 points per game on 50% shooting and over 13 rebounds per game. The Blugolds have played 4 teams now ranked in the top-15 this year, and they’re starting to find their stride having won 4 of their last 5 games.
“We’re kind of getting in that stride right now where we know we want to push the ball, we know we want to play the game fast, and a lot of teams in our conference don’t want to do that,” Hoeppner said. “I think that’s kind of our specialty right now.”
“We had a bit of a slow start; everyone was just kind of figuring out what their roles were going to be and how we were going to work together,” Graaskamp said. “Now that we’ve hit this conference part here, we’re really finding out who we are as a team and how we work together well. So I think we’re going to go on a roll here.”
The Blugolds are in Oshkosh Wednesday night and host Stevens Point on Saturday.