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Montana native Mya Hansen showcasing family's 'fiery spirit' at Boise State

Mya Hansen
Posted at 6:07 PM, Apr 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-04 16:13:56-04

MISSOULA — When Pat Hansen needed to get his team’s attention during a game as the head coach of the boys basketball team at Laurel High School, he would emphatically stomp his foot on the sideline.

When that stomp echoed across the floor, his players stopped in their tracks like alert prairie dogs.

Mya Hansen, the coach’s daughter, knows her dad’s intensity well but makes clear he isn’t the only fiery family member.

“I don't actually know where I got most of my fire from, if it's from my mom or dad, because my mom also had that foot stomp in the stands. So, she would be wearing her big boots to the game so you could really hear the stomp in the stands, too,” Mya Hansen said between laughs.

“Both of them have that fiery spirit, and I think that's one way you define our family, is that competitiveness. … Whether we're on the basketball court playing a game all together or if we’re playing UNO, you know it's probably going to end up in a fight.”

While her dad spent this past basketball season working as an assistant coach at Billings Central High School, Mya Hansen just completed her second season playing at Boise State University. The Broncos’ coaching staff includes another Montanan: assistant coach Mike Petrino, who was born in Glasgow and raised in Kalispell.

“I’ve known Pat for years, but when you watch (Mya) play, it was easy to see she wasn’t adopted,” said Petrino, who originally recruited Hansen when she was in high school, first at Laurel, then at Billings Central, when he was coaching at the University of Montana.

“I mean, she inherited some traits — that fire and a competitiveness and just a fearlessness. I mean, I remember that right away. She was not afraid of the moment at all, and I think that carried all the way through.”

After a stellar high school career that saw her win the MaxPreps Montana player of the year as a junior and the Gatorade Montana player of the year as a senior, Hansen took a circuitous route to Boise State.

She originally committed to play for the Montana Lady Griz when Petrino was an assistant coach — and later interim head coach — with the program. Hansen decommitted after Petrino and the rest of the staff were not retained.

She then committed to Butler University, only to see that coach lose his job, too, leading her to reopen her recruitment. Ultimately, she landed at Boise State, reuniting with Petrino.

“He recruited me here at Montana and then I finished my recruiting process with him at Boise, so it's definitely a full-circle moment, but I'm so grateful for it,” Hansen said in Missoula before Boise State’s WNIT game against the Lady Griz on March 20.

“I mean, things happen for a reason and I love where I am right now. It's a great system. I love the coaches, I love our team and I love the Boise area, and I'm so thankful for it.”

Since arriving at Boise State, Hansen has made an immediate impact. She played in 26 games, including 20 starts, last year as a freshman. This season, she started in all 34 games in which she played, averaging 10.2 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game while shooting 38.9% from the floor, 42.1% from 3-point range and 82.4% from the free throw line.

Hansen started the season scoring in double figures in six of her first nine games before suffering through a midseason slump. She closed playing the best ball of her college career, though, hitting double-digit points in nine of her final 11 games of the season, including a career-high 26 points against Air Force.

She had 20 points, six rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block in the Broncos’ season-ending loss at Montana.

“With every season you kind of go through ups and downs, so I would say I had a little bit of a slump a little early in the season,” Hansen said. “But I was thankful for my coaches and teammates who are always supportive, always there for me. They kind of got me out of it.

“And my goal is every time I step out on that court is do whatever that's needed for our team to win. So when I focus on that, I think good things happen for me and the team.”

After guiding Boise State to four consecutive Mountain West championships from 2017-2020, longtime coach Gordy Presnell hit the reset button. The Broncos won just eight games during the 2021-22 season but improved to 17-18 last season.

This year, they went 21-14 with Hansen and fellow sophomores Natalie Pasco, Dani Bayes and Tatum Thompson helping lead the way.

Mya Hansen and Natalie Pasco
Boise State sophomores Mya Hansen (1) and Natalie Pasco talk during a free throw against Montana in the first round of the WNIT at Dahlberg Arena in Missoula on March 20, 2024.

“In 24 months, we’ve gone from losing 21 (games) to winning 21, so we are growing and we’re growing with high-character kids,” Petrino said. “We’ve only had one kid go in the (transfer) portal the last two years. That says something when you go from that stretch to this stretch. We have a great culture, the kids do a great job.”

“We have that competitive spirit, but we also know enough to where we stay friends, that we’re always friends,” Hansen said. “Through the ups and downs, this team’s in my corner. I’m in their corner always. I’ve always had the most confidence in every single one of them, no matter which five are on the court or who’s on the bench, we just have the most confidence in each one of us.

“We’re so supportive of one another, and that’s what I’m so thankful for, and that’s the reason why I want to play for this team, is because I know the coaches have my back, I have their back, I have my teammates’ back, they have my back. And that’s just what makes me want to play, is I step out on that court and I play for them.”