Bowling Green point guard points to chemistry and trust for success of herself and the team

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Senior Jillian Halfhill 

Sports Editor and Sports Editor

Trust can be something that sets team sports apart from independent sports, it’s something that can turn good teams into great teams and this year’s women’s basketball team has a point guard they trust in every facet of the game.

Senior and Bowling Green point guard Jillian Halfhill has earned the trust of every one of her teammates, coaches and friends in her final year as a Falcon.

“Trust is something that is developed on and off the court, it has a lot to do with friendships and chemistry. I think I have tried to get chemistry with everyone on this team so they could trust me,” Halfhill said. “The fact that they trust me really means a lot to me. I honestly trust every single one of the girls on this team, they have made me better and I just hope I have made them better as well.”

Head coach Jennifer Roos said she has more trust in Halfhill this year than any other year as she has given her more freedom to make the right play call when it matters most.

“I have allowed her to call more of the plays this year and she has been making the right play at the right time,” she said. “She can get people in the right places to be successful, there is an art to that and she has definitely mastered it.”

Halfhill said this year’s team is the closest team she has been a part of in her four years as a Falcon, that contributes to them being so trustworthy. That trust is shown even more in late-game situations.

Center and fellow senior Jill Stein said she has complete confidence in Halfhill in late-game situations because she has been really clutch in their time together on the court.

“Jillian makes us go this year. She is our leader from the point guard position, she is fierce, competitive and clutch,” junior guard Deborah Hoekstra said. “She didn’t have the biggest role when she came in but she has grown from that.”

Halfhill has improved since her first two years. When it came time for her to start her junior year she had a little more than 100 career points and now, as a senior, she is on pace to finish about 150 points away from the 1,000 career point mark.

“You have to have a serious desire for basketball to even play in college,” Stein said. “She has always been a driven and determined person whether it’s in school or on the court.”

Halfhill’s desire for the game of basketball began as a young girl, she even played in a boys’ AAU league when she was younger. She realized she had enough talent to play at the college level when Tom Jenkins, an Ohio recruiter, invited her to come to his women’s basketball camp, which was invite only at the time.

College coaches saw her talent at an early age but they were not allowed to send her any official letters or offers until her sophomore year due to NCAA regulations. When that day came in Halfhill’s sophomore year, she came home to about 150 college letters spread out on the table.

What made the University stand out from the other schools that sent her letters was the way the coaches made her feel on her visit. Halfhill said they made her feel good about herself, her family and they also told her about the atmosphere.

“That’s what I love the most about basketball, the people and the atmosphere,” she said. “The fans here are awesome, they are a sixth man on the court and it just makes everything so smooth and enjoyable. It’s like a family atmosphere here and it’s awesome.”

When Halfhill arrived at the University she had to sit for two years behind two different point guards in Tracy Pontius and Jessica Slagle. In those two years she witnessed a Mid-American Conference Championship, NCAA Tournament berth, National Invitational Tournament berth and learned a lot of other things along the way.

“I learned that no matter what type of point guard you are that you will fit the mold somehow,” Halfhill said.

She remembered the senior class from her freshman year as being a class that took everything in their hands. That year after losing their first game to Evansville they went on a 15 game winning streak and eventually won the MAC Championship.

Like that senior class, she believes that her class can do almost anything they want and that their future is in their own hands.

“I want to be remembered as someone who came in her senior year and took advantage of the roles we were given,” Halfhill said.

Halfhill will graduate with a degree in accounting in May and her Bowling Green career will be over. She said her favorite part about being a Falcon is the support she has gotten here from the fans and students around campus.

“Our games always have around 2,000 people in attendance and for girls’ that is incredible,” Halfhill said. “I have learned so much by being here and being a part of this culture as a person and as a basketball player.”

The Falcons are currently ranked 29 in the country and received 14 votes to be ranked in the top 25. In the last NCAA Tournament bracket prediction, they were positioned as a number 11 seed playing against The University of Nebraska.

“This is my last chance to make the NCAA Tournament,” Halfhill said. “I’m honestly going to give it all I have.”

In four years it has not been her experience, her long brown ponytail or her improved 42 percent shooting percentage that has made Halfhill the person she is.

She said she is the person she is today because of her teammates.

“My teammates are what make me. I would be nothing without them,” Halfhill said. “They make me better each day … Being so close with them has made me trust them as well as them trust me and that has really made me who I am.”