“Towards the end of the season in South Korea, I thought, wow, I can’t wait to get back to the WNBA,” said Hines-Allen. “I was happy. I thought I got so much better. I’m so ready for this season. I knew something good was going to happen.
“I didn’t think I would have it [this] major role. It was easy to go out there and try to make the playoffs. “
MVP A’ja Wilson, Defensive Player of the Year Candace Parker, Breanna Stewart, Courtney Vandersloot and Arike Ogunbowale have been named the first All-WNBA team.
Diana Taurasi, DeWanna Bonner, Napheesa Collier and Skylar Diggins-Smith joined Hines-Allen in the second team.
Hines-Allen credits her time at Bucheon KEB Hana Bank, where it was 24/7 basketball, to growing her game. She finished the regular WNBA season in 10th place with 17 points per game and in 5th place with 8.9 rebounds per game. Their 42.6 point percentage finished 11th in the league. All of this after Hines-Allen averaged 2.3 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 37.5 percent from a distance in 2019. She moved from a reserve across the board to one of the best all-round players in the league who led a playoff team. Opening up the opportunity for more playtime and a bigger role, Elena Delle Donne, Tina Charles and LaToya Sanders never popped up in Bradenton, Florida.
No other player in the league averaged at least 17 points and 8.9 rebounds that season, and only Wilson and Stewart averaged at least 17 points and 8 rebounds.
“I don’t think either of us knew it would come to this,” said Mike Thibault, general manager / coach of Mystics. “We hoped she’d take a jump and be a double digit goalscorer and the rebounder we knew was. In my opinion, she is clearly a candidate for the All-League second team. She has ranked herself among the best players in the league, both statistically and in terms of a few games against good players. It would be different if it were only against backups. Now she is playing against the best players in the league and has these performances. And she did it against some of the best teams too. I think that’s a testament to all the work she’s done. “
The new and improved Hines made the league known at the season opener with a career high of 24 points and 10 rebounds against the Indiana Fever. Less than a month later, she pursued a 23-point attempt against the Atlanta Dream with another career high – 35 points against the Dallas Wings. With the playoffs in the last five regular season games, Hines-Allen averaged 23.4 points and 10.2 rebounds.
At 6-foot-1,200 pounds, Hines-Allen is an undersized striker who had to find a way to be successful as a second-round winner in a league where many second-round players aren’t there. The time she spent in Korea helped hone her footwork in the post, and now she has a variety of drop-step, turnaround, and up-and-under moves. It’s fast and has enough grips to stop taller players from dribbling or harass a smaller defender on the block. Hines-Allen also developed a point-forward role where she can grab the defensive rebound, push the ball up and start the offensive.
“When it’s hot, we like to sit and watch it,” said the mystic guard Kiara Leslie. “When she gets it going, it’s hard not to just sit back and watch her go off, as she can.
“When you look at last year compared to this year, it’s amazing. A lot of people didn’t think she was outwardly, but we knew she was. “