Hooker lives up to 'TV-D' billing against Baylor
Sept. 16, 2009
Time after time, they volleyed back and forth that way, and it was essentially the only time Hooker was stopped. Hooker led the second-ranked Longhorns in a sweep victory with a match-high 15 kills on 28 swings, and those numbers almost felt predictable.
After all, UT’s conference-opening match against Baylor was televised live nationally by ESPNU. Over Hooker’s career she’s averaged 15.63 kills per match when the Longhorns play on TV. That big-stage success has even earned Hooker the nickname, “TV-D.”
“You don’t want to mess up on TV,” she explains.
Hooker’s assault on the Baylor defense was also incredibly efficient -- she totaled just three hitting errors on the night. But as the nation watched Wednesday, it was able to witness a more complete player.
The senior All-American has impressed her entire career with high-flying theatrics around the net, but Hooker has always strived to be more versatile -- a player who could be as useful in the back row as the front.
She’s worked every year to improve her passing, and against Baylor, Hooker was used in every rotation and was second on the team with seven digs. Hooker was as proud of that number as she was her kills.
“I just want to build trust with my team. I want them to know I will be there for them,” Hooker said. “And if the (pass) comes from me, it won’t be a shank.”
More than anything, Hooker’s growing consistency on Wednesday allowed the Longhorns to also be more consistent. Baylor rallied to put pressure on UT, but the Longhorns were always able to pull away. Hooker came up big in both the second and third sets with digs that extended rallies, and UT head coach Jerritt Elliott was grateful, because that gave the Longhorns “opportunities for transition swings.”
But Hooker thought about it in a different way. She knew this match was on a television somewhere.
“When you are on TV, everyone sees it,” Hooker said. “When you are on TV, it’s your chance to prove yourself.”