By ANDY WOLF
Jim Wiedie has always pushed Anna Hintz to be a scorer.
The University of Findlay women’s basketball coach saw immense potential in his 6-foot-2 recruit from South Central High School in 2015-16.
“She’s an extremely talented young lady,” Wiedie said. “You don’t get good 6-2 players that can do some of the things she does.”
Fast-forward four years.
Hintz became the 22nd member of UF’s 1,000-point club two games into her senior year.
She got the milestone out of the way early by hitting a fadeaway jumper against Urbana.
Urbana’s coach promptly took a timeout, only because UF went up 16-0.
“It was a great accomplishment for sure,” Hintz said. “I definitely stepped it up between my sophomore and junior year so last year had a big part of it.
“It was just nice because the support system here was great, my family was here for it and my team got all hyped. That kind of just brought us some energy towards the game.”
Hintz knew about where she was at in total points, just 32 shy after her junior year ended in the NCAA tournament with a 18.4 scoring average.
She wasn’t thinking 1,000 on the milestone-clinching bucket.
“I was happy when I got it because I didn’t have to think about it anymore,” Hintz said.
Hintz is the third player to reach the feat under Wiedie.
She joins Margaret Wuebker (15th, 2013-16) and Haley Horstman (13th, 2014-18), who achieved the feat in February of their senior year.
Hintz, of course, isn’t done.
At her current pace of 21.3 points points per game, Hintz will finish as high as second on UF’s all-time scoring list.
It equates to somewhere in the ballpark of 1,600 points.
Only Mianda Watts has more at 1,898 (1996-00).
Hintz, at 10.1 rebounds per game, also is on pace to be the second leading rebounder in UF history, behind Watts (992), of course.
“It’s obviously beneficial for our team,” Wiedie said. “We run stuff for her, encourage her to score. The other great thing is how receptive her teammates are to her being the go-to player.”
Hintz does it efficiently and from anywhere on the floor.
Contrary to her size, Wiedie viewed her more as a perimeter player.
Also as a steal in the recruiting phase.
“She’s a MAC-level player skill-wise, should be playing in the MAC,” Wiedie said. “We’re very fortunate she decided to come to Findlay.”
Hintz’s hometown of North Fairfield flanks a few miles north off U.S. 224 — a 60-mile straight shot east of Findlay.
And while her ceiling was quite high as a recruit, she was not without room to grow as a freshman.
“It flew by here but the player I was my freshman year to the player I am now, I’ve definitely matured more and kind of grew into my role,” Hintz said.
Hintz cracked double figures six times her freshman year and averaged 6.8 ppg and 4.3 rpg.
She upped it to 8.4 ppg in a starting role after the graduation of Wuebker.
Hintz set her goals of being more of a scorer and better each year. Doing so meant improving her physicality.
“When I was in high school I did not play inside at all,” she said. “(It’s) bigger, faster, stronger in college.”
She’s moved back and forth between the 4 and 5 spots out of opportunity and necessity.
Starting center and senior Christa Puthoff missed the first four games of the season to injury.
Wiedie feels Hintz is a natural 4.
Being more physical also comes with being more assertive.
“The only person who holds Anna back is Anna,” Wiedie said.
When she’s on, she’s unguardable.
That often was the case in her junior year when she registered 12 20-point games. Only six times was she held below 15 points.
“She needs to take 20 shots at least,” Wiedie said. “I think she defers a little bit but she defers where she’ll be super aggressive four to five possessions in a row and score every single time.
“A lot of times it takes something to make her mad.”
Wiedie cited last year’s road matchup against Cedarville.
Hintz posted her career-best 31 points and the Oilers needed all of them.
She scored six straight and eight in double overtime to cap a 92-83 victory.
“She, basically, single-handedly won the game on the offensive end,” Wiedie said. “It’s a testament to how talented she is.
“We’re certainly going to miss her when she graduates because it’s really hard to get players of that caliber here.”
For now, Hintz is one of nine seniors ready to make another tournament run.
“I was just excited coming in this year because we have nine seniors and still can have a good year,” Hintz said.
While the Oilers’ success goes largely as Hintz goes, it won’t go anywhere without the supporting cast around her.
“The fact that she’s unselfish, she’ll find the open player,” Wiedie said.