Bradley women’s basketball newest star, freshman Gabi Haack, gets her determination from her love of the game of basketball.
The guard hails from Elk River, Minnesota, a town well known for hockey having sent multiple natives to the NHL. Basketball and hockey are both winter sports but Haack chose basketball, as she has never played hockey. Her father, a former Division II basketball player, coached her from Kindergarten up until eighth grade.
In her final year of high school, Haack’s consistent focus to be the best player possible paid off when she was named the Gatorade Player of the Year; an honor reserved for the best of Minnesota’s 12,000 players
“Being recognized was a really big honor,” Haack said. “ I was not expecting it at all, and I am extremely thankful.”
Coming to Bradley, many considered Haack a spot up three-pointer shooter, but she has proved to be much more. Haack has transitioned to the college game well and said she is always looking to improve.
“It has been a huge adjustment,” Haack said. “Especially with conditioning, weight lifting, practices and having two games in a weekend.”
Haack said she still continues to work on the weaker parts of her game.
“I have really had to step up my ball handling and defense. I’m happy I have improved my shooting on the move,” Haack said. “There are still a lot of things I still have to work on, and that starts with me focusing on the little things. Right now, I’m working hard on my midrange game. I am more than just a shooter.”
Head coach Andrea Gorski has stressed consistency and urged her players to be more than one-dimensional. Haack, who has accumulated three double-doubles this season, understands this need for versatility in order to win.
“Our coach always says it is important that you do not just do one thing for the team,” Haack said.
Haack’s consistent play has paid off on December 28th, when Gorski inserted her into the starting lineup; she has since stayed there. That day, Haack registered her first double-double by scoring 26 points pulling down 10 rebounds.
“It gave me some more confidence,” Haack said. “I’ve always been a good shooter and boxing out the opposing player comes naturally to me.”
Haack said she has enjoyed her first year at Bradley and looks forward to growing with the basketball program.
“We are all really close, and there is not much drama,” Haack said. “The upperclassmen are really welcoming of us [freshman], which allows me to feel comfortable here. We all have a lot of fun together.”
Haack said she appreciates the opportunity to play upwards of 30 plus minutes and knows that it will help her over her career.
“The team’s future goal is to definitely be more at the top of the conference, and it is important that us freshman are getting a lot of experience now because that can only help us,” Haack said.
On her official campus visit Haack knew Bradley was the place for her on account of the basketball history and educational opportunities.
“I chose to come to Bradley because I really liked the coaches and team when I visited, and it is a good academic school; therefore it was a no brainer,” Haack said.
The women’s basketball team is a tight knit community, which Haack said she enjoys being a part of. As an elementary education major she said she also looks forward to being a part of a different community and working with kids after graduation.
“I want to teach first or second grade because I really enjoy kids,” Haack said. “Before coming to Bradley I organized a few basketball camps with a couple former teammates to fundraise for a trip. I had a lot of fun and figured that a Bradley education would help me in the future.”
Haack did not hold back in admitting her jealousy of the men’s basketball team. This past Saturday, the men hosted Drake as well as 7,793 fans.
“I could not even find my seat,” Haack said. “The women’s team needs more fans.”
Be sure to catch her and the rest of her teammates on Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. when they host Evansville, a team they beat by 58 points two weeks ago thanks to Haack’s 20 points and eight rebounds.