Tianna Hawkins wins inaugural Athletes Unlimited basketball title

(Jade Hewitt/Athletes Unlimited)

Tianna Hawkins is the inaugural Athletes Unlimited basketball champion, clinching the title on the final day of competition on Saturday.

Heading into Week 3, Hawkins claimed the top spot on the AU leaderboard and remained there through the last two weeks of the season.

Hawkins finished the season with 6,836 points, sealing her AU championship with a thrilling triple-overtime win over Team Cloud on Saturday night. With 35 points and 18 boards in the victory, Hawkins added to her league-leading rebound tally of 116.

The 30-year-old also notched a league-high 11 double-doubles and led AU with 3,336 stat points and 750 MVP points. Hawkins claimed MVP 1 honors six times, MVP 2 honors twice and MVP 3 honors three times.

“Aye, aye the Champ is here,” Hawkins said Saturday. “I’m excited. I say that humbly, but look, I’m the first one in the book so I go down in history, so I’m excited about that … I was the first in D.C., now I’m the first in AU. It don’t get no better than this.”

Natasha Cloud finished 917 points behind Hawkins for second place with 5,919 points overall.

The Washington Mystics star logged single-game records with six 3-pointers, 16 free throws and 15 assists. She also led the league in average assists with 13 per game and made history on Feb. 12 by recording AU’s first-ever triple-double, notching 17 points, ten rebounds and ten assists.

Isabelle Harrison claimed the third spot on the AU leaderboard, fishing the five-week competition with 5,373 points. The four-time captain was also crowned Defensive Player of the Year, voted on by players and members of the Unlimited Club, after she finished the season with 109 rebounds, 31 steals and 11 blocks. Harrison earns a $5,000 bonus for the honor.

After a successful debut, Athletes Unlimited will return in 2023 for a second season of basketball.

“We really did that. We all made this happen,” said Sydney Colson, one of the first few players to sign on to play in the inaugural season of the league. “From our co-founders, to our staff, to our facilitators, who were amazing for us, to the fans, I really don’t think we could have envisioned this being any better than it was. So many players came here and rediscovered their love for the game.”