February 8, 2024 

Locked On Women’s Basketball: Hannah Hidalgo is doing things at Notre Dame no one’s ever seen before

'Buckets' talks New Jersey hoops, NIL, and what makes a good defender

On today’s episode of Locked On Women’s Basketball, Notre Dame standout Hannah Hidalgo joins host Howard Megdal to talk about her unprecedented freshman season. As of publication, Hidalgo now holds the Notre Dame freshman scoring record in just 22 games played. A prolific scorer, Hidalgo already has four 30+ point games to her college career. She is also the NCAA leader in steals per game and 22nd in assists per game, while getting 6.4 free throw attempts per game.

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The conversation began where it often does — with the state of New Jersey, where Hidalgo grew up and began playing basketball. “Growing up, I was always in the gym with my dad,” Hidalgo said. “My parents ended up putting me in a rec league with a whole bunch of boys and so I was always playing against boys since I was younger. And at first I didn’t like basketball, [my] interest in it was going up and down. But as I started constantly [being] in the gym, just working out over time, I really grew love for the game.”

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“They gave me the nickname ‘Buckets’ when I was in the rec league and so that’s when I felt like it really sparked it. You know, I really love the game,” she said. Hidalgo’s kindergarten nickname held true, as she eventually wracked up multiple New Jersey Gatorade player of the year awards and fielded offers from many of the country’s top programs.

But it isn’t just high-volume scoring and assists that make Hidalgo special — her defensive capabilities shine just as brightly, something she says has always been a point of personal pride.

“Obviously, when I was younger, I was a lot a lot smaller. So I didn’t really do too much more because the girls were so much bigger than me,” Hidalgo said. “So I really took pride in my defense and getting stops and getting steals, and then pushing the ball out to my teammates. So I feel like I’ve always taken pride in my defense. When I was younger, someone once told me that defense wins championships. So I kind of always always stuck with that.”

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Hidalgo and Megdal also talked about Notre Dame’s season so far, getting to play South Carolina in Paris, NIL deals in women’s basketball, and more. Make sure to subscribe to the Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast to keep learning about the WNBA, women’s college basketball, basketball history and much more!

Written by The Next

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