By Zach Gourley
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Iowa State women's basketball player Hallie Christofferson is having a break out year for the Cyclones, averaging career-highs in both points (13.8) and rebounds (6.6) per game. She been a crucial part of the fast start Iowa State has gotten off to, as she leads the team in scoring.
When teammates and coaches are asked how the junior forward has become one of the top players in the Big 12, their answers vary. They may mention her athleticism, her shooting stroke or her basketball IQ, but something they all say is that Christofferson is a hard worker.
"Hallie is a coach's dream," Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. "She shows up every day, works hard and is personally accountable. She is willing to do whatever is asked of her to help her team."
Christofferson is enjoying her best season yet in a Cyclone uniform, ranking in the top-10 in the Big 12 in both scoring and rebounding. She is also shooting 44 percent from behind the three-point line. She said that this year has felt different for her on the court as found she has found her role on the team.
"Last year, I was just kind of filling in roles where I could," Christofferson said "This year I've become more comfortable on the court which has allowed me to do some things like stepping out from the basket and playing the small forward position."
Although Christofferson certainly looks comfortable on the court now, she said the transition from playing 1A basketball in high school to Division 1 was not always easy.
"It was difficult because the competition is just ten times tougher," Christofferson said. "In high school, I was the tallest person on the floor every game and then all of a sudden everyone is bigger and stronger than me. I had to adjust both physically and mentally. There's so much going on and you have to handle school and classes and everything else outside of basketball."
Part of what makes Christofferson's journey to Iowa State and the Big 12 so unique is that it started in Hamlin, Iowa, a town of approximately 200 people, where she attended Exira High School. Fennelly believes that Christofferson's upbringing has played a crucial role in the success she is enjoying at the collegiate level.
"Hallie is a small-town Iowa kid who understands the value of family and friendship and what it means to do an honest day's work," Fennelly said. "She shows up and gives her best every day. Not because she has to, but because she wants to and it's the right thing to do. Her parents and her community deserve all the credit."
Senior post player Anna Prins said that visiting Christofferson's hometown and seeing where her teammate grew up is on her to-do list before she graduates in May."Hallie comes from a farming background, so I had a conversation with her about it the other day," Prins said. "She tells me about how she grew up and I've told her I want to go and visit her home before I graduate. It's a really neat story that she came from such a small town and is now able to play college basketball at a high level like this. It's a good testament to show girls that do come from small towns that if you work hard, you never know what can happen."