She may not light up the stat sheet; she may not get the most minutes; but the one thing that is impossible to overlook is the value of freshman Jayde Van Hyfte.
One of four of this season’s ASU freshmen class, Van Hyfte saw most of her minutes early on during the non-conference schedule. Lately, she has seen her minutes increase based on her production off the bench.
“[coach Charli Turner Thorne] has been more confident in me,” Van Hyfte said. “That has boosted my confidence also. I’m playing better with the team - especially defensively - and I’m getting the rotations down.”
“Jayde just gives us energy,” head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “She plays so hard, and she’ll rebound, she’ll get a steal, she’ll get her put-backs, she’ll be in the right place at the right time.”
Van Hyfte is from Annawan, Illinois; a town which averages a population of just under 900 citizens. In high school, she finished as Annawan high school’s all-time leader in scoring (2,775 points), rebounding (1,155 rebounds), double-doubles (114 in 119 career games) and free throws (627).
She also set the school’s single season record for points with 961.
This season, Van Hyfte has been blessed to be part of a valuable rotation of posts in seniors Kianna Ibis, Charnea Johnson-Chapman, Sophia Elenga and junior Jamie Ruden. She attributes their leadership to her success.
“They’ve helped me so much,” she said. “All of them are so different and they’ve taught me so many different things - especially offensively.
“Playing against them everyday has definitely made me better.”
“She’s just an amazing player,” Ibis said. “Just seeing Jayde develop into one of the first posts off the bench - if not the second post - she’s very aggressive and she always goes hard every single possession. That definitely brings a spark off the bench. We definitely need her.”
In her first collegiate postseason game, Van Hyfte totaled nine minutes; almost two more than her average 6.9 minutes per game.
In those minutes, she scored four points, grabbed one rebound, blocked one shot and had two steals putting her efficiency at seven and her plus/minus at 10.
She even took a hit off of her nose and continued to play before being subbed out at the next timeout.
“I actually didn’t want to sub her out,” Turner Thorne said. “[coach Jackie Moore] told me her nose was bleeding, and I think she got hit pretty hard in the nose, so I would have liked actually to leave her out there a little bit longer in that fourth quarter because I thought she just gives us such great energy.”
It was also during the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout - also in Las Vegas - that Van Hyfte showed her ability to provide.
Against Southern Illinois, she scored 7 points - her season high - grabbed one board and two steals. What made the game even more special was playing against her sister, Celina
“All my family came out and supported both of us,” Van Hyfte recalled. “Obviously, we were talking to each other on the court. It was fun because I’ve never gotten to play against my sister. I really enjoyed it.”
Following this season, Van Hyfte will be one of two returning forwards - Ruden being the other - and will likely see a massive increase in playing time. Coach Turner Thorne finds her to be valuable for ASU’s success going forward.
“We’re going to lose a lot of production in the post,” Turner Thorne said. “Jayde the Jet is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the future the way she is now.”