Coach Riehl earns 100th career-win with epic performance from Isabel Hernandez


Courtesy of SEU Athletics Communication

Isabel Hernandez’ career-high 39 points helps lead to Coach Riehl’s 100th career win.

Women’s basketball head coach, JJ Riehl, picked up her 100th career win Jan. 26 with a dominant 84-56 victory over conference rival Newman University. Senior forward Isabel Hernandez headlined the win with a record-setting performance – finishing the game with career-highs in points (39), field goals made (14) and 3-pointers made (eight).

With averages of 29.5 ppg, 60-perfect FG shooting and 58-percent 3-point shooting in a two-game stretch, Hernandez deservingly earned Heartland Conference Player of the Week from Jan. 21-28 – making it the second she’s received this season.

Riehl says that Hernandez’s career performance made her 100th career-win that much more special for not only herself but for the whole team too.

“Her record-setting shooting performance happened on a night that I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Riehl said. “I’ve been [involved with the program] for 17 years and it’s the best shooting performance I’ve ever seen. She was unreal.”

Riehl said that milestones and personal accolades are not nearly as important to her as the success of her team and the well-being of her players.

“I don’t really get hung up on the individual stuff, it’s more about the team stuff,” Riehl said. “The biggest milestone for us is just figuring out a way to win three games in March and win another championship. That’s the only milestone that is in my frontal lobe right now.”

Hernandez, on the other hand, says that the big game was meaningful to her and her teammates considering it solidified an honorable accomplishment for her head coach.

“We were very excited about it. To finally get (her 100th win) and finally celebrate that was very good,” Hernandez said. “She deserves it.”

Hernandez said that earning her second conference Player of the Week recognition is important to her, as it showcases her hard work and determination to continuously improve her game.

“I’ve always been that kind of player that works hard no matter what,” Hernandez said. “But whenever you get some kind of recognition, it’s just one more incentive to just do better.”

Hernandez’s performance had a motivating impact on her teammates, as the Hilltoppers dominated on both ends of the floor. Rookie Gabriela Bosquez, who contributed six points on perfect three-of-three FG shooting, said that Hernandez’s high energy was contagious for the entire team.

“It was definitely a big win,” Bosquez said. “It brought more confidence for everyone. … Being able to be here for that was amazing to see.”

Hernandez says that her recent scoring outbursts have added to her senior season with the program and her goals for the rest of this season.

“I’m glad it happened before I’m done with my college career,” Hernandez said. “At the end of the day, my main goal is just to win the championship. … The confidence is emerging from the group again and we’re getting back to that mindset of winning.”

The Hilltoppers (11-11, 3-5 conference) will look to add more wins to Riehl’s coaching resume as they will face Oklahoma Christian on the road Thursday, Feb. 7.