One of the first things you might notice about Samantha Hawk, a senior basketball player, is her sharp and arresting eyes. She has a certain confidence and purpose that shines through when you speak with her. This week The Record sat down with Hawk to discuss where she finds inspiration and why she loves basketball.

Q: How long have you been playing basketball?

A: I’ve been playing basketball since the second grade. So yeah, it’s been a long time!

Q: Why basketball?

A: Well, my mom told me I had to pick something, and I was decent at it. Sort of, “You’re good at this one, and you’re doing something, so let’s keep you at this!” And I enjoyed it. I met a lot of my really close friends [playing basketball].

Q: Who have you connected with the most on the team?

A: Jenna Rusmisel, though she isn’t playing right now. We’ve been here all four years together. So have Paige Davis and Bethany Lemler. The best part really is the relationships that I’ve developed over the years, from elementary school to high school and here in college. I know that that I’m going to keep these friends in my life for a really long time.

Q: Not everyone goes out for sports in college. When did you know you wanted to keep playing basketball?

A: I was in middle school when it really hit me. All I did was eat, sleep and breathe basketball. Every day, all year ’round, that’s all I did. That was when I knew that this is what I wanted. And my mom wanted me to play as well. But I already knew it was something I really loved and enjoyed.

Q: Is there a player you see as a particular inspiration?

A: Tamika Catchings [a WNBA player for the Indiana Fever] is one of my role models because of how much she does on and off the court. She’s a great leader for her team on the court. They just won a national championship, so I admire her for that. The WMBA, and the NBA, too, do a lot with kids and the less fortunate, like running camps and things [off the court].

Q: Have you ever worked with charities off court?

A: There’s not much time, with pressure for school and all. But last year we helped Habitat for Humanity with a project in Elkhart county. We built a home for a woman and her family. I hope that the home is nice and stable.

Q: Do you have any pre-game rituals to get into the game?

A: Not really. Only my music . . . we’ll leave it at that! It’s best people don’t know what I listen to!

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

A: Just that my body is going to be excited when this [season] is all over. It’s really taken a beating!