Dearica Hamby highlights are some of the best must-see moments in basketball. In just six seasons, Dearica Hamby has become one of the WNBA’s rising stars. She’s had iconic shots like her infamous “Hamby Heave” against the Chicago Sky in the 2019 second round, she’s won multiple Sixth Woman of the Year Awards, and she has just signed a contract extension ensuring, she’ll be playing WNBA basketball for years to come.
Dearica is an electric player to watch. She’s got the highest three point percentage of all Las Vegas Aces players at 47 percent and her speed shows up defensively with her leading the team in steals with 1.7 per game. Dearica still has time and room to grow and develop which is a scary thing for the league.
So, today we’re going to rank the top moments in Dearica’s career and breakdown what made these moment’s so special. So get ready for some ACC basketball, some iconic shots, and a historic brand deal for the best bench player in the WNBA. Each highlight includes a video and a breakdown into how Dearica was able to dominate and win on the court.
From parenting in the Wubble to signing with Jordan Brand, to incredible steals, putbacks, and game winning shots – see the greatest Dearica Hamby career-spanning moments.
We begin in Italy. While Dearica has established herself as a phenomenal WNBA player, that’s not the only league she plays in professionally. She spent years playing in Italy as part of the team Virtus Eirene Ragusa. In fact, many WNBA players spend the off-season playing overseas.
Dearica is a legend in Ragusa. She led her team in points and rebounds averaging 19.6 points, 7 rebounds, along with 1.5 assists as her team reached the round of eight in EuroCup 2017-18. This experience was crucial to her development as a player because she had a larger role in Ragusa compared to the role she had in the WNBA at the time. So she was able to develop and grow faster playing all these extra minutes in professional games overseas. Below we have a highlight from Dearica’s performance with Ragusa in the 2019 Coppa Italia Final.
Dearica receives the ball at the top of the key and the defense immediately collapses on her. Seeing this she immediately looks to the wing and prepares to kick the ball out. Critically, she keeps the ball locked in and overhead where no one can reach it without fouling her.
The post player has the one on one option. However, due to the ball movement, and holding her position to create spacing, Dearica now has a clear lane to the basket and is in the best position to score. She raises her hand slightly to signal that she wants the ball and is open.
Dearica now has an easy basket because the defense is unable to closeout in time. Check out how Dearica uses her non-shooting arm to keep defenders away from her to maintain separation. And she finishes with her left with ease.
The 2020 WNBA season was unlike any other season. Due to the coronavirus pandemic the WNBA season happened in Orlando away from everyone. This bubble (which people called the Wubble due to the fact that this was the bubble for the women’s league) helped ensure the WNBA had a season.
Despite all the challenges the Las Vegas Aces and Dearica were able to make it all the way to the WNBA finals. During the regular season, Dearica had a career year with career highs in points 13.0, rebounds 7.1, and assists 2.7. Below is a clip of Dearica getting separation from Alyssa Thomas and scoring during the semi-finals matchup against the Connecticut Sun.
Dearica receives the ball from Danielle Robinson despite the ball being slightly deflected. She locks it in and does a quick rip through to create some separation from the defender who is all over her. Danielle cuts to the basket to clear Dearica’s side of the court, as she begins to make her move.
Alyssa Thomas is expecting Dearica to commit to going to her left. She reaches in aggressively to go for the steal. Dearica anticipates this and plants her left foot away from the basket and changes direction. This causes a reaching Alyssa to be completely out of position.
Alyssa is unable to recover in time and Dearica gets an uncontested floater which she scores on. Her speed, offensive IQ, and shot making ability were on full display on this possession, demonstrating why she’s such a valuable player for the Las Vegas Aces.
Dearica’s performances in Wake Forest were legendary. She ended her college career as the all-time leader in points and assists at Wake Forest. Her best season came in her junior year when she led the ACC in points and rebounds and made the All-ACC First Team.
From college to the pros one thing about Dearica is clear. She knows how to crash the boards and she knows how to get a bucket. Below is a prime example of that. Watch a highlight for Dearica’s junior year where she gets a rebound and a put back on the same possession.
Here the three-point shot goes up and Dearica positions herself towards the basket and prepares for a potential rebounding opportunity. She doesn’t leave her spot too early though because she knows no one is really aware of her at the moment.
The ball hits the right side of the rim and Dearica immediately runs to that side of the floor. The defense is unable to box her out because she began running towards the basket as soon as the shot went up. With her height, jumping ability, and strength, she easily gets the rebound.
Dearica secures possession of the ball, locking it in and bringing it down by her waist because she knows there are other tall players behind her. Then immediately goes straight up and gets the basket – no dribbles, and that’s the key. And she smartly uses the backboard anticipating contact. Second possessions like these made her unstoppable in the ACC, one of the hardest conferences in college basketball.
In 2019 Dearica took her game to the next level. She established her role as the leader of the bench mob in Las Vegas. She had a career year with her best averages in points 11.0, rebounds 7.6, and assists 1.9. This display didn’t go unnoticed around the league. In 2019 Dearica was awarded her first Sixth Woman of the Year Award for being the best player in the W coming off the bench.
This is a regular season award, but she took this level of play and extended it to the playoffs, but more on that later. For now enjoy a highlight from her 2019 27 point performance off of the bench.
Dearica battles in the post and gets good positioning. Notice that while the top of her body looks a bit off balance her feet are set, her base is firm, and her legs are stretched out making it harder to take her out of her position. Her right hand is extended and if the ball is passed perfectly she’ll have all the advantages.
Dearica does get a perfect pass and turns towards the basket. Notice how she shoves off her defender with her other arm, right before she catches the ball. Now her defender is out of position and unable to defend her at all. Help defense is on the opposite side of the rim so it’s unlikely they’ll be able to close out in time to legitimately contest the shot.
Dearica catches the shot and keeps her back to the defense, owning the space. She goes straight up, using the backboard, anticipating contact, and is able to score easily. The defense tries to collapse on her, but is unsuccessful in doing so. Dearica’s post up ability, footwork, and strength are on full display in this play. She is a special talent and, in 2019, she had a career year.
Dearica’s performances in Las Vegas jerseys have shown her value to the team and her value as a WNBA player. However, sometimes that work goes unrewarded. Sometimes you have to change teams to get your worth and get your opportunity. Luckily, the Aces understand just how special Dearica is and made sure to give her a contract extension. Bill Laimbeer expressed how valuable he thought she was to the team when the contract was made public.
“Dearica has been a huge part of the Aces rise to championship contender since the team moved to Las Vegas, particularly over the past two years, and last season’s run to the WNBA Finals,” said Bill Laimbeer. “She brings an energy to the court that is infectious not only to her teammates but also to our fans, and we are excited to be able to extend her contract through the 2022 season.”
The contract extension ensures she will be a member of the Las Vegas Aces through 2021.
Even with all the accomplishments Dearica has had in her career it feels as though she is just getting started. In 2020 she had a career year averaging 13.0 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. Her contributions helped make the Aces number one in the league in rebounding and number one in points scored. Here is a highlight of her 23-point performance versus the Seattle Storm in the Wubble.
Dearica receives a pass from Sugar Rodgers and immediately begins to cut to the basket. Notice how she shoves her defender off with her off the ball arm. This allows Dearica to create space, despite being in the middle of defenders. She has three defenders around her, but only one can realistically guard her without leaving someone else open.
Dearica has a clear lane to the basket because she got her shoulder and body in front of the defense. Plus, if Alysha Clark decides to help on defense, Dearica will just kick out to the open shooter in the corner. Alysha has no choice, but to let Dearica make her move and hope she misses.
Dearica fires overhead and protects the ball with her left, anticipating the foul. She uses the backboard and gets the bucket, plus the foul call. Good positioning and her speed led to a nice bucket.
One thing we don’t talk enough about is the challenges female athletes have in being mothers. With the length of a pregnancy, having some semblance of a maternity leave, and coming back to be fit enough to be a professional athlete, there’s a lot to juggle. We need to do better to support and encourage women to have the power to do whatever they want and have the resources needed to make those decisions for their lives.
Like most working moms in the pandemic, Dearica felt the brunt of trying to balance it all and give 100% to her job and her daughter. “I try not to be around [my daughter] unless I can be fully engaged. I try to separate the two. I don’t like to give her half energy and I’m thankful my mom is here to help,” she told Essence.
Here is a powerful video where Dearica and other WNBA players discussing the challenges they faced in being mothers in the Wubble.
Dearica’s advocacy for WNBA mothers and her ability to be a mother and play basketball at the highest level, in the Wubble, is not only impressive, but also inspiring. Certainly, it’s a year she’ll never forget, and we commend her for having an incredible 2020 on and off the court.
It’s been established before, but one thing Dearica does at an elite level is get a bucket. On June 22, versus the Dallas Wings, Dearica got a career high 27 points and she did it coming off the bench!
The game also marked her 1,000 points in the WNBA and resulted in an 18 point victory. What more can be said about Dearica? She absolutely dominated in 2019 and her offense was on full display that night. Enjoy the highlights from that game in the video below.
Dearica makes the read that the ball is reversing, and reaches in on a pass from Arike Ogunbowale. She uses her speed and arm length to get this steal. In 2019 she had a career high in steals averaging one per game.
Dearica gets the clean steal and is off to the races. With her speed, she’s able to get to the defender’s right side, creating nice separation and putting her in prime position for a clean layup.
Dearica executes on the open layup. She doesn’t shoot the ball hastily. She still has perfect technique on this layup, using her left hand to protect the ball from the defender.
Dearica has made history on and off the court. She’s helped break down barriers and has demonstrated all aspects of the female athlete. She made history again in 2021 when she signed a deal with Jordan brand.
Women are still not getting endorsement deals anywhere near the amount that men do, so seeing Dearica joining Jordan brand matters. It’s an iconic global brand and it makes it more likely that other women will have the opportunity to sign similar deals in the future. Dearica talked one on one with Jordan Brand about her fashion sense and her career highlights. This is just one of the many ways Nike is collaborating with the WNBA.
The number one play in Dearica’s career so far is very clear. It’s the Hamby Heave. It was an iconic once in a lifetime shot, a devastating blow to a rival team in the playoffs, and a shot that blew up WNBA Twitter. On September 15, 2019, game three of the second round matchup versus the Chicago Sky, it was a win or go home game. And right before the game Dearica was handed her second Sixth Woman of the Year Award.
The game was high intensity and back and forth all night. With 13.2 seconds left it looked like the Chicago Sky was going to win. They were up 92-90 and were inbounding the ball, then the Hamby Heave happened.
Courtney Vandersloot was trying to run out the clock. She picks up her dribble and intended to pass the ball to an open Diamond DeShields. Dearica sees this and runs to Diamond attempting to steal the ball.
Dearica steals the pass. Diamond didn’t really see her as it seemed like she came out of nowhere.
Dearica takes the ball down court riding the baseline. Courtney was unable to cut her off or stop her momentum. Dearica heaves a shot up with 7.2 seconds left. Should she have held the ball? Maybe passed to the open teammate near the basket?
Perhaps, but what she did do was hit an incredible shot that secured the win for her team, kept their season alive, and added one of the most iconic shots in WNBA history to her resume. So maybe second guessing anything about the play is a moot point.
We hope you enjoyed going through all of Dearica’s career highlights as much as we enjoyed writing about them. We can’t wait to see what’s next for Dearica.
Up next, be sure to check out our feature on Sami Whitcomb. It’s a detailed piece on what makes her a special player and where her career is heading.
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