Chan’el Anderson-Manning didn’t expect to be a regular in her first collegiate basketball season. Neither did her coach, but both individuals seem fine with the unexpected results.
With two games to play, Hamline (12-11 overall, 7-9 MIAC) is tied for seventh place with St. Catherine and one game behind St. Mary’s (sixth place) for the final MIAC playoff spot. A win in either game this week (Wednesday at St. Olaf; Saturday at home against Bethel) would guarantee Hamline a win-loss record of .500 or better for the first time since 2012-13.
The 5’-7” Anderson-Manning, a St. Paul Cretin-Derham Hall grad, is third in scoring (nearly 10 points a game), second in minutes played, and leads in assists and steals on the Pipers this season. “She is carrying a lot of weight” as a freshman starting point guard, said second-year Hamline Head Coach Alex Focke.
He admits that he didn’t see the guard starting so soon — Anderson-Manning has started all but two games this season. “You don’t really know until you start working with somebody” after they arrive on campus in their first year, the coach explained.
Asked if she’d envisioned herself starting as a freshman, Anderson-Manning said, “No, I didn’t. But every day I worked hard… I was prepared for whatever came.”
Focke noted that Anderson-Manning’s winning experience as a prep player “has been great for us. She has been phenomenal and great.”
The point guard earlier this season set up the game-winning shot in a comeback home win against St. Mary’s, and later against Carleton tied the Hamline record for made three-pointers, going 7-for-7 in her 21-point performance.
“I took a couple of extra shots in warm-ups,” Anderson-Manning recalled of her record-tying night in mid-January. “I was pretty hot. Then in the game, every chance I got I took the shot, and it all worked out.” Her teammates, upon realizing that she was on the verge of setting the three-point record, urged her to go for it. “I took one more and [tied] the record.”
Anderson-Manning seems to have adjusted to college life off the court as seamlessly as she has on it. “She as a student has gotten herself involved” as a member of student campus groups, the coach pointed out.
“I’d say the easiest adjustment for me was making friendships off the court,” the freshman said.
Coaching opportunities sought
More female coaches of color are needed, Augsburg Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach Jennifer Phillips strongly suggests. In her first year at the Minneapolis school, she is one of the few Black female assistant coaches in the MIAC.
After a two-sport career (basketball and track) at St. Thomas, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Phillips later co-created the MLK Park Fundamental Youth Basketball Development Program. She established the MLK Minneapolis Travel Basketball program based in South Minneapolis. She also coached girls’ basketball at Minneapolis Edison and Southwest for five years.
Phillips, a coach for nearly 20 years at the high school and youth level, said that she’d support Black females pursuing coaching at all levels, “not just at the college level. We have very good young ladies who know the game, and I think they should be out there [coaching].”
“I coach boys as well [as girls]” in AAU basketball, Phillips said. “I was always interested in kids, and mentoring was something I would do” after college. “It was 20 years ago that it set in that I like what I am doing.”
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.