Record performances – Hinz and Hill cement names in KWU Women’s Basketball history

Ryan Showman is well aware of the impact Amanda Hill (SR/Rossville, Kan.) and Kelcey Hinz (SR/Whitewater, Kan.) have had on the Kansas Wesleyan women’s basketball program the last three seasons.


In the last two months Hill has become KWU’s career scoring leader and Hinz has established new career standards for rebounding and blocked shots.


Having an athlete achieve one of those milestones is uncommon and cause for celebration. Two athletes shattering three significant records in the same season is improbable and likely unprecedented.


Showman, a former KWU player, assistant coach and now in his 10th season as the Coyotes’ head coach, has the pleasure of watching two NAIA All-Americans put the finishing touches on their record-setting careers.


“They have impacted me more than they’ll ever know,” he said. “They make me a better coach. In my head coaching career, I might not have two players like Amanda and Kelcey ever again. This could be a once in a career type of situation.”


Hill shattered Joedy Zimmerman’s 37-year-old career scoring mark of 1,568 points against Ottawa on January 22 and currently has 1,647 points. Two months earlier, on November 29 against Southwestern, she played in her career-best 129th game that broke the previous mark set by Shelby Babcock from 2008-12 and has played in 144 games to date.


Hinz topped Stephanie Frost’s career rebounding record of 832 during KWU’s game against York on January 14 and currently has 916 rebounds. She also surpassed Frost’s blocks record of 221 against Saint Mary on December 8 (Frost played for the Coyotes from 2009-13) and has 269 career blocks thus far. Also, her 11 blocks against Ottawa on November 27 set a single-game school record previously held by her and Kristen Crittenden in 2004.


Collectively Hill and Hinz were members of the 2019-20 team that’s considered one of, if not the best in school history. The Coyotes were 26-6 overall, won the program’s first outright Kansas Conference title with a 21-3 record and defeated Mayville State in the first round of the NAIA Tournament before the tournament was cancelled because of COVID-19.


It hasn’t been easy, though. Hill and Hinz have combined the rigors of college basketball with the demands of being students in KWU’s nursing program. Hill is a 2021 graduate and works full-time in the emergency room at Salina Regional Health Center; Hinz is her final year and currently doing her clinicals SRHC along with classroom work.


Marathon days and nights studying, classes, clinical sessions and 12-hour shifts at the hospital and are punctuated by individual workouts, practices, travel and games. And occasionally sleep.


“Time management as much as I can and really communicating with my coaches like if I have work and stuff like that so I’m able to do everything,” Hill said. “(Communication) was something that everybody preached but it didn’t really occur to me until I was in the nursing program that it is such a factor. Showman has really strengthened my communication skills.”


Hill arrived at KWU five seasons ago after a stellar career at Rossville High School. College, though, was a different beast and she leaned on two veterans early on.


“Coming in as a freshman I think I was really scared and there were a lot of girls that were really, really good,” Hill said. “I had Sydney Mortensen and Gabbie Miller that kind of like led me through it and those were my mentors. They helped me become confident in my first couple of years. I was able to transition to that role for some of the people coming up.”


Hill opted to return for a fifth year this season, a situation the NAIA allowed due to the coronavirus pandemic. She says she feels a twinge of guilt because of it, though.


“I do feel like I’m cheating getting five years but it’s really fun and it’s cool that I got to do that,” she said. “(Zimmerman) was a great player and 37 years is a really long time. I’m really excited.”


Hill’s current schedule redefines hectic. She works 12 hours on the night shift at SRHC then sleeps before coming to KWU for basketball in the afternoons/evenings.


“A lot of people don’t see the sacrifices she makes to put on that Coyote jersey,” Showman said. “I don’t think a lot of people know the behind-the-scenes work she’s put in in the last four years.”


It helps that Hill has her younger sister Caila along for the ride. They share a house with their two dogs and are teammates and starters on the basketball team. Caila’s also a nursing student.


“It’s great, it’s the most fun thing ever, I absolutely love doing it,” Amanda said. “She’s why I came back for my fifth year.”


Hinz transferred to KWU from Neosho Community College three seasons ago and made an immediate impact. A consummate post player, she gives the Coyotes an offensive and defensive presence inside that most teams don’t have.


Hinz, like Hill, wasn’t sure how her career might unfold when she arrived.


“I was just hoping to get some playing time and make some memories with some people and make some friends and all the other great things that have happened along the way,” she said. “I was taken in very well and they really made it feel at home and made me feel comfortable enough to do whatever I need to.”


Hinz, who is doing a clinical in the Intensive Care Unit at SRHC, said it has been an arduous process. She and Caila Hill (JR/Rossville, Kan.) arrived in Leavenworth during the first quarter of KWU’s game against Saint Mary on Thursday because of nursing obligations.


“Yeah, it’s hard but that’s how it is,” Hinz said. “You have to make sure you take time for yourself because if you get so caught up in basketball and school all the time, you’re going to run yourself in a wall and it’s not going to be good.


“It has taken a lot strength and determination and help from Showman and the professors in the nursing program and my teammates to allow me and Amanda and Caila to do whatever we need to do and still come back and play and do what we need to do to win.”


Hinz has dealt with knee issues throughout her playing career, including KWU, but has persevered through that too.


“When you’re setting career records and getting All-American status it goes beyond that,” Showman said. “She’s been coachable and has allowed me to coach her hard. She’s positive, she’s caring, she’s empathetic, she has a high level of integrity. All those things give her that special status.”


Hinz says the full impact of what she’s accomplished during her KWU career hasn’t fully sunk in.


“It’s really an awesome feeling,” she said. “I don’t know if it’s actually hit me yet. It might once basketball’s over but right now it’s still push, push, push. I don’t think I realize how really cool and awesome it is.”


Showman has no similar issues.


“For those girls to not only be in the record books individually but to play on arguably one of the greatest teams to play at Kansas Wesleyan, I think that says a lot about who they are as people, as leaders, as teammates and definitely as players.


“It’s been an incredible ride.”