As a kid growing up in Montclair, N.J., Myisha Hines-Allen went to New York Liberty games and marveled at the basketball talent on display. She modeled her game after LeBron James and admired WNBA talent such as Candace Parker and former Liberty player/fellow New Jerseyite Essence Carson.

Among the country’s best high school players and a McDonald’s All-American, Hines-Allen had her pick of colleges. She chose University of Louisville after feeling an immediate connection during her official visit. Now in her senior year, the 6-foot-2 post player is averaging a double/double with 14.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. Currently 20-1 on the season, the Louisville Cardinals are aiming for a national championship.

The amazing fan support that Louisville receives excited Hines-Allen when she was deciding what college to attend. In her final season, she said she couldn’t have asked for more. “This is a family atmosphere and the fan base is incredible,” said Hines-Allen.

There is a lot of basketball talent in New Jersey, so growing up Hines-Allen enjoyed some great competition. She played her AAU ball with the New Jersey Sparks Elite, a team with an impressive history. “I was able to learn because I was always around great players,” said Hines-Allen, whose older sisters also played college basketball and were her role models.

Louisville coach Jeff Walz and her teammates have taught Hines-Allen to play with full intensity no matter the opponent. “The little things matter most. That’s why we’re successful,” she said. “We’re so focused on doing the little things and executing.”

As a senior, Hines-Allen is a leader. She said the preparation for that started her sophomore year when the five seniors on the team showed her what leadership entails. They taught her the ways to carry on the tradition of Louisville basketball and in turn she is doing the same for the team’s younger players. Although Cardinals tradition is the priority, Hines-Allen also carries New Jersey pride.

“The Jersey tough,” said Hines-Allen, a sports administration major who wants to play professionally after college, and then probably go into coaching. “We’re strong. We have confidence. You can tell when someone is from New Jersey when they’re playing basketball—girl or boy. You know they’re from Jersey.”