BY RAVON MATCHEN
Caroline Williams Hipps, the former Georgia Prep School standout and Vanderbilt Commodore from the city of Rockmart, Georgia is honored as being one of the most consistent players at Vanderbilt University and a SEC Legend. Hipps was a tremendous high school player averaging 25.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game as a senior while leading her team to a tournament berth. Hipps was also invested in her academic career as a high school student, achieving honor roll all four years of high school earning the Georgia Certificate of Merit for academic ranking in the top 10 percent in the state.
Hipps embarked on her collegiate athletic journey after her high school senior season. Hipps, a Georgia native, was originally committed to the University of Georgia but after suffering a major injury which tore her ACL, the Bulldogs rescinded their offer and Hipps had to go back to the drawing board.
Luckily, she was able to get in contact with the coaching staff of Vanderbilt University. The Commodores already had an excellent recruiting class, as they were ranked #1 in 2003. Although it would be tough for her to find a role, Hipps was confident in her ability and she walked on to the team her freshman year.
Her freshman year, Hipps averaged a total of 6.9 minutes in 17 games for the Commodores. She averaged 1.5 points, 0.4 rebounds and hit four three-pointers in 117 total minutes. Due to the loaded class and her recent injury, Hipps minutes were limited. However, she perservered and ultimately decided to come back next season stronger than ever.
After Hipps first year, the platform was set for her to emerge as one of the elite three point shooters in the SEC. Hipps had her first break-out game against South Carolina registering a career-high 17 points in the win where she went for a career-best 5-8 from three-point range. Her minutes increased greatly, jumping from 6.9 minutes per game to 20.1 minutes per game, and she started in the last 14 games for the Commodores. She shot a remarkable 50.5 percent from behind the arc and 56.5 percent from behind the arc in conference games. Hipps became not only the best three point shooter on her team, but one of the best three point shooters in her conference.
As Hipps junior year approached, it was set in the stone that she was going to be one of the leaders on the team. She was one of four Commodores to play in all 32 games this season, but was the only one to start every game. She led the team in minutes, ranking fourth in the SEC at 33.8 minutes per game. Her three point shooting mastery was put on display at an outstanding rate totaling a 95 made three-pointers, breaking the mark set the previous year by former teammate Abi Ramsey. She roughly averaged 3 three pointers a on 44 percent shooting. The coaches of the conference also voted Hipps to the second-team All-Southeastern Conference honors.
It was undeniable that Hipps was an unprecedented shooter at Vanderbilt University and she looked to continue that into her senior season. Senior year Hipps shooting expedition continued, she improved her already great shooting percentage to 48 percent shooting and averaged 2.7 three pointers per game. Hipps ended her career Vanderbilt career with an all-time three-point shooting percentage of 46.5. Hipps had evolved from an injured freshman walk on, too one of the best three point shooters in the country and the best three point shooter in Vanderbilt history.
Williams Hipps is still active in the Vanderbilt program, spending time as an SEC+ color analyst and most recently serving on the search committee that hired current Vanderbilt coach Stephanie White. She is also an active community member and supporter of women athletes as she serves on the Nashville Sports Council’s Women in Sports Committee.