Skip to content Skip to footer

The Hawks needed a spark. They needed talent. They needed an infusion of youth. In order to improve the program, they needed freshmen players that would be able to fill a star role this season and give the Hawks an even better future outlook. They needed guard Kyshanti King and forward Joyce Mulumba. 

This season was about learning the reins. The do’s and don’ts. They both had award winning sophomore mentors to help them with that process. King had guard Kierstin Constantino, while Mulumba had forward Monique Cavness. With those two leaving, this next season is about taking over the program.

As Coach Caleb Theodore looked to continue to rebuild the program he began last season, he needed more athleticism and seize. He had the shooting from Constantino, and he had the heart and rebounding in Cavness. But to really turn the program around, he needed more. And he found it in these two recruits. 

King brings speed and athleticism. Her fast pace and aggressive offensive mindset led to her immediately becoming the second best scorer on the team. Mulumba brings the seize. At 6’1 she towers over most players. That combined with her long reach and effort led to her dominating the boards. The two have had a year to get used to the pace of college play. To see what it’s going to take to succeed. Now they must do just that, while leading the next set of stars.

King will have the responsibility to lead the team with her scoring. She will be the star, the one with the ball attracting the attention of the defense. Mulumba will be the anchor defensively and the soul offensively. Her work on the glass will continue to be needed to get the Hawks as many second or third chances at points as possible.

The two still have a ways to go to prepare for what next season holds. This offseason King will need to work on her shooting, while Mulumba will look to heavily improve her post offense. Theodore will also need to find more star power to surround the two. A large majority of the team will be back for next season, including freshman guard Rayna Manu, who averaged 17.6 points in her 12 games this season. However, the majority of the players returning played small roles this season and will need to step up, following the example of King and Mulumba. 

After two seasons under Theodore, the Hawks have a combined record of 9-43. It’s time for the Hawks to start winning. With the majority of the team returning for next season, they believe they are in position to continue their growth. With the core of King and Mulumba, the Hawks will like their odds. The new era has already begun.

The Hawks won three games in Theodore’s first season with the team, failing to score 70 or more points in any game. But in year two, they doubled their win tally while scoring 70 or more 16 times. Two of their wins came in Coast Conference North play after finishing 0-10 the previous year. The team was more committed to becoming successful.

“We recruited good,” Theodore said. “The players that are here are committed to what we’re trying to do and change the way people view this place.”

First-year Assistant Coach Tracy Walker noticed improvements came slow for the team, but eventually, things started to click.

“I think they finally built trust within each other,” Walker said. “They are finally vulnerable, and they finally were able to believe in themselves.” 

King’s inside scoring helped the Hawks offense finish 7th in the state in offensive rating. She finished 2nd in the Conference and 12th in the state in points per game with 20.0. Her offensive style is similar to Russel Westbook, as she plays the game at 100 miles an hour, always looking to attack the basket while constantly keeping defenders on their heels. 

Her guard partner Constantino led the team in points with a different style, more similar to Steph Curry or Damian Lillard. Her three point heavy barrage, as she led the state in threes made with 146, led to her scoring 27.6 points a game. She was named to the 1st Team All-Coast Conference. Without her next year, it would seem the scoring responsibility falls on the shoulders of King. King believes that her teammates will help carry that burden. 

“If I do end up taking this role, I feel like I can have a team that will back that up as well.” King said. “If I get my points I’ll be able to pass the ball around to them, and they’ll add on to scoring as well.”

Even though the Hawks improved, a 6-19 record wasn’t up to the standard of King. “I always like to win,” King said. “So it was very upsetting for me, but I don’t really dwell on the past or, you know, like, move forward. I just continue to grow and still have a name for myself.” 

King certainly earned a name for herself, being named to the 2nd team All-Coast Conference. 

“The most important thing is not focusing on it, but focusing on what it took to get it.” King said when speaking of her accomplishment.  “Never underestimate your greatness but always remember there’s incredible strength within you.”

King was great at attacking the rim, but her perimeter shooting left much to be desired. She finished the year shooting 28.6% from three point range. Without Constantino making it rain, she will need to improve her jumper’s consistency for next season. 

Mulumba’s impact came from a different source, as she dominated the glass. Her towering stature made rebounding easy, as she finished the year 2nd in the nation in total rebounds at 490. 262 of them were offensive rebounds, as her hustle consistently gave her team second chance opportunities. She added 7.3 points and was named as a Coast Conference Honorable Mention.

“It’s a privilege to have this type of title,” Mulumba said. “I wasn’t even planning it. I didn’t even know I could get these types of titles so when I was introduced to it, it was pretty cool.” 

Her mentor, Cavness, also led the state in rebounding her freshman year. This year she finished second only behind Mulumba, with 19.6 rebounds a game and 12.3 points, being named to the 2nd Team All-Coast Conference. 

For Mulumba’s sophomore season, she will need to continue dominating the boards without Cavness helping reel in misses. More importantly, she will need to strengthen her interior offense to help fill the hole Cavness will leave. 7.3 points simply won’t get the job done if the Hawks are going to continue improving like they did this past season.

With nine of their 14 players returning next season, the Hawks are in a prime position to continue their growth. Theodore is confident in the group, but knows they still have a ways to go to compete with the truly elite teams.

“Next year, we’re going to have to really pay better attention to detail,” Theodore said. “The teams that beat us, they deserved it, because they were more attentive than we were to the little things.” 

As sophomores, King and Mulumba will have to step up as leaders. There will be no Constantiono or Cavness to catch them when they falter. Instead, it will be their responsibility to direct the next set of freshmen stars. All while looking to continue to take the Hawks to even further heights. A 6-19 record is better than 3-24, but it’s not the end goal for Theodroe and the Hawks. They want to reach the peaks of women’s hoops. To do that, they will need King and Mulumba to be even better in their sophomore seasons.

Show CommentsClose Comments

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.