By Andrew Robinson (@ADRobinson3)
In her career, Hanna Rhoades has never been afraid to take a shot and this one was too easy to pass up.
As a senior at Abington Friends School, Rhoades committed to play at Arcadia but by the time she was ready to start her college career, the coaches she had pledged to were gone. She’d picked Arcadia for its proximity and academic fit with her planned major, so when the Knights hired Jackie Hartzell prior the 2022-23 season, sticking around was a shot Rhoades wanted to take.
Rhoades’ combustible offensive game fit right in, a productive freshman season leading to a hot start as a sophomore including Wednesday’s 23 points as the host Knights downed Gwynedd Mercy University 82-56.
“I knew Jackie’s reputation at USciences, I knew she was a great coach,” Rhoades said. “I decided I could at least feel it out. She’s encouraging, she knows the personnel on our team and how we all play and uses us the right way.”
Arcadia's Hanna Rhoades scored 23 points Wednesday against Gwynedd Mercy. (Photo: Courtesy Joe Kraus/Arcadia Athletics)
Rhoades, a 5-foot-5 guard, isn’t afraid to take shots because she knows she can get shots. Wednesday featured a steady supply of looks from the outside, the sophomore shaking off a 2-of-11 start from long range to hit her last five on her way to a 7-of-16 (43.8 percent) shooting effort from deep.
While USciences’ closure was Arcadia’s gain, the university’s merger with St. Joe’s at the end of the 2021-22 year ceasing the athletic program and opening the door for Hartzell to take over the Knights’ program, she was also inheriting a roster she didn’t know much about. Hartzell hadn’t recruited Rhoades at her previous stop but it was soon apparent why the first-year guard had drawn the previous staff’s interest.
“She’s just a flat-out scorer,” Hartzell said. “Tonight, it was a lot of 3-point shots but if a team is playing man, she can also get to the rim. Her skills were good last year, but she worked hard in the offseason and her skills are even better now. We’re going to rely on her to score pretty much every game and so far, she’s done a nice job of that.”
As an underclassman at Abington Friends School, the roster Rhoades came into had some college-level veteran players in front of her. By the time Rhoades, who hails from Huntingdon Valley, was a senior, she was one of the few upperclassmen leading a relatively young team.
She was a first team All-Friends School League selection as a senior, often tasked with carrying much of the scoring role for her team and that experience helped last year as a college freshman. Rhoades, Delaney Bell and Abby Beam were all mainstays in the lineup as freshmen while the Knights went 15-12 and qualified for the MAC Freedom playoffs.
Rhoades, who started 17 of 27 games, led the team in scoring at 11.4 ppg and quickly figured out taking a shot with Hartzell and her staff had been a good one. At the same time, it was motivation to, as Rhoades put it, “not take my foot off the gas,” and she stayed busy all summer not settling on a good freshman year.
“The way we run offense just works really well with the way I play,” Rhoades, who scored 17 in the team’s opener against Rutgers-Camden, said. “I’m good at spotting up, and I know when to rip. I think we have a really nice flow, we’ve been working now for two years with the same group, so we flow really well together.”
Like many players making the jump from high school to college, Rhoades said the speed of the game certainly took some getting used to. Unlike most high school players, the shot clock wasn’t an issue, thanks to the FSL adopting one during her time at Abington Friends.
Arcadia doesn’t have any freshmen on the roster this year — fifth-year Katie Rodriguez, a grad transfer from Cabrini, is the only newcomer — so the staff was looking for the core returners to take the next step. It’s only two games in, but Rhoades’ field goal and three-point shooting percentages are both up and as importantly, Hartzell noted her defense has improved.
“She’s been a scorer all her life and when you get to college, it’s a little bit different,” Hartzell said. “You have play defense at the college level so it’s something we wanted her to work on and so far, she’s been playing good defense. We want all our players to be as well-rounded as possible.”
Rhoades has a very quick shot, something she has worked hard to hone since she started playing, so if she catches it open and in a good spot, she doesn’t need much to get one up. Wednesday, she also showed a good knack for spacing will all five of her second half threes coming as wide-open looks off a teammates’ extra pass.
“She’s comfortable catching and shooting and getting her shot off quick because she puts so much time in,” Hartzell said.
Bell, a Bensalem graduate, helped get her classmate going by assisting on the first four of Rhoades’ triples after halftime. It was a typically productive Bell game too, the 5-foot-8 guard tallying 12 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and two steals with her high school coaches in the stands.
“We just work really well together,” Rhoades said. “I’m always trying to find her inside, and she always looks for me when she gets stuck or the defense collapses.”
Senior Scarlett Glasser-Nehls was the Knights’ third player in double figures with 16 points, the guard hitting 4-of-4 from three in the first half to spark Arcadia’s fast start.
Rhoades isn’t afraid to take a shot when the right opportunity arises. Arcadia’s glad she took a shot on them as the Knights aim to continue building this year and beyond.
“We work well together, we’ve all learned we need to look for ourselves sometimes but also know when to look for others,” Rhoades said. “I just know I have to play tough, our coaches preach it, and if I can do it, then I can help my team.”