By: Rhonda Craig
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Alyssa Hollins is a dynamic scorer who holds the Missouri career record for 3-pointers made. However, what made the senior guard the team MVP last season was her good timing.
Heading into the 2007-08 season, the Tigers had the eighth youngest team in the nation based on minutes played. Hollins was coming off a sophomore season that saw her average 11 points a game and start all but one contest.
Last season, Hollins averaged 16.6 points a game, scored at least 20 points in 11 contests, was in double-digit figures in all but three games, and broke the school record for 3-pointers made in a season. While Mizzou finished 10-21, Hollins' value was undeniable.
“I am the leader of the team," Hollins said. "I try to embrace the role, I try to talk to the girls and have them feeling confident when they go out there so that they perform better.
This season, Hollins is the lone senior on a team predicted to finish last. Hollins, though, is preaching a positive attitude.
“I’m continuing to work hard so that they believe in me when we get out there so we can knock some shots down and hopefully get some victories,” Hollins said.
In late November Hollins scored her 1,000th career point, making her the 26th player in Mizzou history to achieve the plateau. And while she’s well known for her shooting and ball handling, coach Cindy Stein appreciates Hollins' mental toughness.
“She’s got a lot of fire in her and determination, and her mental fitness is at an extreme high,” Stein said.
From the classroom to the community, Hollins’ off-court resume is impressive.
Hollins is an active member of Mizzou’s CARE program, a community outreach organization created by minority student athletes.
“I’ve seen a lot of people come and go through here - a lot of minority athletes and we want to make it where people stay and this is a home and they don’t feel like they need to get away so they can be successful here at Mizzou,” Hollins said.
Her success in the classroom was taken to a new level when she was accepted to become a McNair Scholar, a prestigious program that prepares top scholastic undergrads for graduate school.
“It’s really tough, it’s a lot to handle and I enjoy taking it on," Hollins said. "It’s trying to get me prepared for graduate school, thinking about life after basketball.”
Stein believes Hollins’ level of commitment both on and off the court sets her apart from other athletes.
“Alyssa Hollins is a very unique individual," Stein said. "She’s one that’s very knowledgeable and very respected. She just gives a lot throughout the community and just gives her heart and soul to whatever she believes in.”
But from the classroom doors to the hardwood floor, Hollins says there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
“I just wanna get better each game," she said. "I've got a lot of work to do on the defensive end. Plus I want to add some things to my repertoire offensively; stepping inside the 3-point line, and finishing at the rim and distributing the ball a little bit more.”
While the Tigers have about two months of this season remaining, Stein realizes her time with Hollins on the team is growing short.
“The thing I’ll miss most about her is that she’s got a great smile, a great personality but definitely her scoring, because we need it,” Stein said.
Hollins is determined that her final season at Missouri will be successful.
“We intend to win a lot of games," she said. "Yeah we’ve got a lot of work to do, but we intend to surprise a lot of people.”