September 28, 2022
Locked on Women’s Basketball: 3×3, family rivalries and the Ivy League with Jenn Hatfield
Jenn Hatfield has many beats, and she talks with Natalie Heavren about all of them
The newest episode of the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast takes you all over the women’s basketball world, from retired players to the present day and from 3×3 to 5×5! Host Natalie Heavren interviews The Next‘s managing editor, Washington Mystics beat reporter and Ivy League beat reporter Jenn Hatfield about her recent stories, including:
- Instant chemistry: How four Ivy League alumnae came together to play – and grow – 3×3 basketball
- From idol to rival: Comparing the careers of cousins DeLisha Milton-Jones and Haley Jones
- How eight days in the summer set the tone for Columbia’s 2022-23 season
Here’s Jenn on her experience covering an outdoor 3×3 tournament that featured four Ivy League alums playing on one team and Mystics point guard Natasha Cloud as a special guest:
“The whole event was was wonderful. … It was just a beautiful day, and being able to, I think, combine my beats — Natasha Cloud is always a joy to cover; she could be a beat by herself. And then getting to sit down and talk with each of the Ivy League alums was was really powerful, getting to hear their stories and kind of give them the attention that they don’t always get. … So getting to kind of elevate those stories and see three-on-three [in person] for the first time, it was really just — they couldn’t have catered a day better to my beats, really, and my desire to cover things that are a little bit off the beaten path. So I really enjoyed it.”
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Later in the episode, Natalie and Jenn each share some of their favorite parts of Jenn’s story about cousins DeLisha Milton-Jones and Haley Jones. Here is Natalie’s, excerpted from Jenn’s story:
In late 2021 or early 2022, former coach and current television analyst Carolyn Peck called Milton-Jones to tell her that she would be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Milton-Jones couldn’t explain anything then; she just cried. “I was speechless,” she said.
She found the words to explain what the honor meant to her during her induction ceremony in June 2022. Despite all her success, she believed her career had often been overlooked — but not by the Hall of Fame.
“You will never know how healing it is to stand on this stage to receive this honor,” she said, addressing the voting committee. “… Thank you for recognizing my contributions and saying my name.”
Jenn offers two favorite details, one for each cousin:
“On a poignant note, learning about DeLisha’s backstory growing up with a single mom in a very poor community. That I did not know and was surprised about and really felt was powerful. But then I also, on a lighthearted note, I really loved the nickname that Haley’s AAU coach gave her, which … was ‘Starship Enterprises,’ because she’s ‘going where no girl has gone before.’ And that was kind of referring to the versatility that she played with then and still plays with now and is likely to continue in the WNBA. So I just got a huge kick out of that.”
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In the final section of the podcast, Natalie and Jenn talk about the benefits of college teams traveling abroad in the summer, which they can do every four years, and about Columbia’s recent trip to Spain and Morocco. Jenn talks about why this was a great time for Columbia to head overseas:
“They basically have everybody back [from last season’s WNIT quarterfinal run], and they have seven seniors right now. So this is really their season to seize their first Ivy League title. As I wrote my story, this is like the all-in season. And so this tour comes at a great time for them to be able to get a jump start on that and … get them back to the level that they were playing at at the end of last season and start preseason here in the States strong.”
Don’t forget to subscribe to the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast. Watch it on YouTube or listen wherever you find your podcasts. And click here to see all of Jenn’s coverage at The Next, from family rivalries to the Ivy League to the Washington Mystics, all in one place.