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Hannah Hidalgo, Women's Basketball

SEATTLE - At 5-foot-6, Notre Dame's star guard Hannah Hidalgo makes up for height with skills and heart, performing in ways that have never been seen in freshmen at women's college basketball.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Hidalgo is one of the very few basketball players in Division I with Latino heritage, with her dad being born in Puerto Rico but moving to the United States at a young age. According to The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES), only 2.9% of women's Division I college basketball athletes identify as Hispanic or Latino.

After a highly successful high school career, the No.1 point guard recruit of the 2023 class has not slowed down, but has elevated her game at Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are currently ranked No.19 in the AP Poll and sit on a 19-6 record, largely due to Hidalgo's season.

Hidalgo has scored 20+ points in 22 of her 25 games so far. Just last month, she helped Notre Dame beat women's basketball powerhouse UConn with 34 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. In just her second game at the college level, Hidalgo had 26 points to go along with her 12 steals, just two shy of tying the NCAA record.

With just four games remaining in the regular season, Hidalgo sits at 125 total steals in her first year, 18 away from tying the NCAA record by a Freshman set by Natalie White of Florida A&M in 1992 (143).

A great scorer, solid passer, a turnover-generating machine and an amazing rebounder considering her comparatively smaller size, Hidalgo's heroics have propelled Notre Dame to a 5-seed in ESPN's latest bracket projections. The Fighting Irish, one of the elite programs in women's basketball, has not won a national championship since 2018 and will hope Hidalgo can help them get out of the drought by having a spectacular NCAA Tournament come March.

Even though she is proud of her Puerto Rican descent, Hidalgo has not chosen to represent the island at the basketball level. Hidalgo won two World Cup titles for Team USA at the U-17 and U-19 level. Last December, she became just the second teenager in history to be crowned as USA Basketball's 5-on-5 Female Athlete of the Year, joining legends that also won the award such as Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi.

Hannah Hidalgo, Team USA
Last year, Hidalgo helped the United States to a gold medal at the FIBA U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup with a perfect 7-0 record

With the basketball side of her life pretty much taken care of, Hidalgo is still trying to learn more about her 'Latinidad,' as her dad Orlando did not really teach them about their Puerto Rican side when she was growing up. "It was not something that was shown when I was dad didn't teach us a lot about his life until we got older" Hidalgo said in an interview to Andscape.

With Hidalgo increasingly embracing her Hispanic side, almost fluent in Spanish by now according to her dad, the Notre Dame guard is already a role model for other girls trying to follow her path as Latinos are vastly underrepresented in the WNBA.

In 2022, UConn's Evina Westbrook became the first Mexican-American player in the WNBA after the Seattle Storm selected her in the second round. Another Mexican, Lou Lopez-Senechal, made history just last year by becoming the first Mexican-born player to be drafted by the WNBA when the Dallas Wings selected her with the No.5 overall pick.

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