Collage of Olson playing basketball and holding her award
Bree Olson

It’s been a long six years for University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo women’s basketball’s Bree Olson: battling injuries, the COVID-19 pandemic, three different schools and three degrees.

Olson was awarded 2022–23 Sakai and Harue Wakakuwa Female Scholar-Athlete at UH Hilo’s All-Sports Banquet in early May for achieving the highest cumulative grade point average with at least five semesters as a Vulcan. Olson finished with a cumulative GPA of 3.91.

Among Olson’s other academic accolades include: three-time D2 Athletics Directors Association Academic Achievement Award (3.5 or higher), two-time member on Academic All-PacWest Team (3.0 or higher) and a three-time winner as UH Hilo Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Not many collegiate student-athletes come across the opportunity of getting to play six seasons of competition, and for those who do, it usually comes along with heavy baggage of hardship and setbacks. While at UH Hilo, the Tucson, Arizona native appeared in 50 games over four seasons, but her first year was spent sitting the bench (as a redshirt) to recover from a knee injury.

This season Olson played in all but five contests, making eight starts and averaging 24.7 minutes and 8.0 rebounds per game.

Olson wrapped up the 2021–22 school year earning a bachelor of arts in kinesiology and exercise sciences. While many student-athletes utilized the extra COVID-19 year of eligibility to space out their undergraduate courses, Olson earned a second bachelor’s degree in administration of justice.

When Senior Night arrived in mid-February of this year, Olson was unsure of what the near-future would look like, thinking she would maybe work toward a career in physical therapy or law enforcement; but behind the scenes, the wheels were already turning and she now plans to move to France to continue playing basketball.

“You might think you’re working really hard, but you can always go harder,” Olson said. “I think I’ve been content at some points in my life and I wish I could have done more. Seeing other people succeed is motivating. You can always work harder.”

Read more at UH Hilo Athletics.