UNC Women’s Basketball Player Bids Farewell to Bears, Heads to Rams

Hannah Simental completed four years of basketball at the University of Northern Colorado and will continue her basketball career at Colorado State University.

Hannah Simental, a former University of Northern Colorado basketball player, quit basketball when she was a child and began doing ballet until she was in 6th grade. It was inevitable to cancel basketball forever since she spent hours in the gym with her dad and siblings.

“I quit around 3rd grade, and then I started doing dance for a really long time and then I picked it up back in middle school,” Simental said.

Simental was born in Pueblo, Colorado. She began her basketball career when she was in middle school. Simental played for the University of Northern Colorado Women’s basketball team for four years.

“I’m pretty proud to say that I’ve done my whole college career so far at UNC,” Simental said.

Gabi Fields, a UNC basketball player, shared the basketball court with Hannah for a few years and games throughout the season. Fields described Hannah as a caring, straightforward, and committed athlete.


“She was a great teammate. She had her strengths and she always used them for the better of the team,” Fields said.

Simental finished the 2023-2024 women’s basketball season at UNC with 113 rebounds and 73 assists. She played 31 games and scored a total of 391 points. The 2023-2024 basketball season was Simental’s last season played at UNC.

“I became overall a better player defensively. I rebounded more. I felt like I was a great leader for my team. I just think overall my game evolved this year,” Simental said.

Simental entered the transfer portal on March 28th.

“I have one year left of basketball. I want to have a lot of fun. I want to win some games and I want to experience a new program and a new school,” Simental said.

Fields said she initially felt sad that she wasn’t going to be around Simental anymore when she heard that Simental was transferring.

“I do want what is best for her and I know wherever she goes, she’s going to be successful. I’m super happy for her,” Fields said.

Simental has committed to play for Colorado State University Women’s Basketball.

Simental’s biggest role models are her siblings, David, and Haley Simental. David and Haley both play basketball. David plays overseas in Germany as a professional. Haley played at Kearny Nebraska and recently started coaching.

“They taught me how to train and work hard,” said Simental, smiling.

Jasmine Gayles, a former UNC basketball player, is an athlete Simental looks up to. Gayles is a graduate student. She currently plays for the University of San Francisco Women’s Basketball team.

Simental said Gayles taught her the ropes of college basketball and was a person she could talk to during her first year as a college athlete.

“I would say Jasmine Gayles and then my older sibling have made me the kind of player I am today,” Simental said.

Just like any athlete, there are times Simental has experienced a lack of motivation. Simental said this usually means that her cup is pretty empty. She uses the term “fill my cup up,” which means she needs to do things that will make her feel happy. Some of these things include spending time with her family, friends, boyfriend or going to the gym.

“Just doing things that really refill me… even taking a step back for a day from basketball, sometimes helps,” Simental said.

Just like how basketball is a mental game as well as physical, Simental said it is important to take care of her mental health.

“A lot of people can try and steal your joy, whether that’s coaches, teammates or outside noise. So I just think going back to why you really love the sport that you play or why you are doing it,” she said.

Female athletes face a variety of obstacles in the sports industry. Simental said one of the obstacles she’s faced as an athlete is the less attention women’s sports get compared to men’s, but she’s learned to overcome it.

“Just always knowing who you are playing for and just being self-motivated to play this sport because it doesn’t get as much attention as the men’s side,” Simental said.

Basketball is not all Simental knows. She plays the piano and loves to sing. As a young kid, Simental joined the choir and theater.

“I’m just really creative and I enjoy doing creative types of things,” Simental said.

Simental is aware that being a college athlete is not an easy task. It requires physical and mental dedication. Focus and determination have helped her achieve her goals.

“Just refocusing your mindset so that you can stay on your overall goal,” she said.

Simental will be graduating from UNC in May 2024 with a major in communications and a minor in journalism. She plans to extend her academic career at CSU by doing a grad program in Sports Management emphasizing communication and media.

“I want to see where this goes and what God has planned for me so time will tell,” Simental said.


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