Triple-overtime victory put sophomore guard on the map

Peter Holland, Jr. // Staff Writer

Starting point guard Kristian Hudson emerged as a rising star following her break-out performance against University of Texas at El Paso on Jan.12 and University of Texas at San Antonio on Jan.14.

Despite FIU being in the bottom of the conference, Hudson has been a workhorse for the Panthers.  Her coaches have asked for a lot out of the sophomore, in terms of stepping up not only a scorer but in a leadership role as well.

“I just think it’s what the coaches pour into me,” Hudson said. “I guess behind the scenes, they put effort toward me and that really helps, especially when I step onto the court. It kind of fills in the gaps, so the coaches play a big part in my leadership role on the team.”

In the last 20 games she started, Hudson has averaged 12.9 points per game. She also has little time to rest on the bench; the Alabama native averages 36.9 minutes per game, the third most in Conference USA. Though it’s a heavy load carrying this young Panther squad for all four quarters in a game, Hudson has taken advantage in every minute when she’s on the court.

“Individually, I felt like I made some spurts in some areas,” said Hudson. “So, you know, better taking care of the ball and good decision making. But I think I’m definitely growing and getting better.”

Hudson, as of late, has been recognized after a clutch performance in the Panthers’ triple-overtime victory against UTEP. With a school record of 55 minutes of play, she recorded a double-double (35 points and 10 assists) and made a 33-foot buzzer-beater shot to end the game against the Miners.

After recording another double-double the next game against UTSA, she was selected C-USA Player of the Week, along with being recognized from the NCAA as one of the top women’s basketball players the same week, averaging 23.0 points in 45.5 minutes, 7.5 free throws made, 9 rebounds and 8 assists in those two games combined.

The psychology major looked back at the game winning shot, which drawn the attention of ESPN overnight when that final drive landed her at number nine on Sportscenter’s Top 10 Plays.

“That was amazing. It’s kind of hard to describe it in words, to play that long and end up coming out on top,” said Hudson. “As far as Sportscenter, I never watched it on T.V. My family sent it to me and to have my family be proud of me, that probably means the most to me. It’s just something to add in the story I hope to have and many other great accomplishments with my teammates.”

Jan. 21 marked a homecoming trip for Hudson, as she returned to her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama when the Panthers faced University of Alabama at Birmingham. Hudson was looking forward to returning home, along with having all her family and friends come out to support her.

“Personally, I always think that it’s a blessing and always amazing to play in front of my family and friends,” said Hudson. “They are extremely supportive when they can be. That’s always fun to play in front of them. They think I do well regardless of the outcome of the game.”

Hudson finished the game with 19 points and three assists in the Panthers’ 82-68 loss against UAB.  

Next up, the Panthers face conference rival Florida Atlantic University on Jan.26 at 7 p.m. They will return to FIU Arena on Feb. 2 to host Old Dominion University at 7 p.m.

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