Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Hard work leads to scholarship for Hancock

Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Sophomore forward Sophia Hancock is fouled driving to the rim in a 74-61 win over Austin Peay on Jan. 16 at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau.
Photo by Anna Estes

All collegiate athletes put in countless hours in the gym. One college athlete, women’s basketball forward sophomore Sophia Hancock, had her countless hours turn into a scholarship after walking on the Southeast women's basketball team her freshman year. Hancock went from averaging three minutes per game her freshman season to averaging 10 minutes per game her sophomore season.

Hancock said her love for the game motivates her.

“Being a college athlete is a job,” Hancock said. “You have to put a lot of time and dedication into it. So, coming to SEMO to be a walk-on shows I love playing the game of basketball, and I just knew I was going to come to college and work hard and try to hopefully earn a scholarship.”

Hancock said being surprised with the scholarship made her feel rewarded for the hard work and time she has put in.

The work that led to her scholarship is also done in the offseason, when Hancock said she puts in countless hours in the gym.

During the past offseason, it was difficult for athletes to practice due to pandemic-related restrictions that put a halt to many practices and workouts.

Hancock kept up with her workouts thanks to her trainers sending them to her to complete when she couldn’t be in the gym.

Southeast’s women's basketball coach Rekha Patterson had high praise not only for Hancock’s commitment to being a great player, but for her commitment to being a exceptional teammate, as well.

“She didn’t get the scholarship just for her being good at basketball,” Patterson said. “She got the scholarship for how good of a person she is.”

Patterson said she could always see how much work Hancock put in towards her game. Hancock constantly helped her teammates and ensured they were doing all doing their best, whether it was in practice or during a game.

Hancock believes if she continues to have the same mentality she had before receiving the scholarship, both she and her team will continue to become successful.

“I think now if my mind stays completely the same, it’s going to keep bettering myself and helping my teammates get better so that we can be successful during the season,” Hancock said. “I would definitely say the scholarship was just a blessing on top of that.”

As her college career progresses, Hancock said she has become more confident in her skills.

Hancock has seen a lot of success on the defensive side of the ball, as it has been one of her main focuses.

“I always know that if I’m not going to contribute offensively too much, that I want to make a big impact on defense,” Hancock said. “I definitely want to make sure I’m doing my part on the defensive end to help my teammates.”

As the season continues, Hancock looks to continue being a good teammate, and to be the best competitor she can be while continuing to grow her confidence.

“I mean, to truly be successful in basketball, you have to be confident in your abilities and your skills,” Hancock said.

Hancock and the Redhawks are back in action on Feb. 18 when they host Eastern Kentucky at 6 p.m. at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau.