Freshman Thill following family tradition

In basketball, many observers put a heavy importance on the offensive aspect of the game.

Kaitlyn Thill
Kaitlyn Thill

When inquiring about a player’s skill level, many would judge them on how many points they score per game.

Defense can be equally crucial to the success of a basketball team. Freshman point guard Kaitlyn Thill has been outstanding thus far for the women’s basketball team (5-1, 2-0), which is ranked No. 23 in the top 25 poll.

Some players are considered offensive while others are considered defensive, but Thill is as complete as they come on both sides.     Through six games, Thill has averaged 9.7 points, four rebounds, 3.2 assists and six steals per game. Of her impressively balanced stat line, possibly the most impressive statistic is the six steals per game average.

Thill prides herself on her defensive skills and attributes them to her quickness.

“I actually like defense better than offense,” Thill said. “I know I’m quick so I can pressure more people and hopefully create a turnover.”

The Belgium, Wis.,  native had a decorated career at Ozaukee High School. She scored 1,000 points and was unanimously  named to the All-Conference team all four years.

Thill’s high level of play doesn’t come as a surprise due to her dominance on the high school level. She has adjusted fluidly to the collegiate game by leading the team as a freshman point guard.

Thill is not the first of her family to play for the ’Hawks.

Trisha Thill, Kaitlyn’s older sister, played for the ’Hawks from 2004-08, including the 2007-08 team that was the winningest team in school history and went to the NCAA Final Four.

Like her younger sister, Trisha Thill was a tremendous defensive player and holds the record for career steals and second-most steals in a season for UW-Whitewater.

To put Kaitlyn Thill’s season into perspective, she has 36 steals after six games, while the most in any season is 108.

Thill said knowing what to expect from college basketball has aided her during her rookie season.

“The court’s a little longer [than in high school] so you’ve got to be more in shape,” Thill said. “I kind of knew what college basketball was about because of AAU basketball and since my sister played here before me