Sprinting down the court, guard Jill Henrikson '12 collected the outlet pass from forward Alexa Barry '12 and dribbled hard to the basket. Plymouth State's defender simply could not keep up, and Henrikson beat her to the basket for an easy two points.

By the end of the game, the run-and-gun offense of the women's basketball team was simply too much for Plymouth State, as the Polar Bears handled the Panthers 80-27.

"We really push in transition and pride ourselves in our defense, and that has helped us be successful," said Henrikson. In that game—Bowdoin's season opener—she accumulated a rare double-double: 16 points and 10 steals.

The team has gotten off to a strong 3-1 start to the season. After the Plymouth State win, Bowdoin beat Rensselaer 65-61 in overtime and the University of New England 69-53, then dropped its first game of the season to the University of Southern Maine Huskies 63-49.

Against Southern Maine, the Polar Bears were unable to contain center Courtney Cochran, who dominated the offensive and defensive glass and hauled in a monster total of 18 rebounds.

While Cochran, who is averaging 18 points per game, only managed eight against Bowdoin, her mere presence helped her teammates to have strong showings and ultimately shut the door on the Polar Bears.

Leading the way for Bowdoin thus far, Henrikson is among the league leaders in scoring and steals.

The Polar Bears also boast strong contributors in Barry and guards Kaitlin Donahoe '13 (14.2 points per game) and Ellery Gould '12. Gould and Barry have averaged over six rebounds per game while chipping in 7.8 and 6.2 points per game, respectively.

The team is stacked high with experience this year, with four seniors and one junior starting.

"We have a big senior class with a lot of experience," said Head Coach Adrienne Shibles. "But it's good when we have the ability to give the first years and sophomores some experience in the games when we're winning by a lot."

Shibles has also pointed to an outstanding team chemistry that, despite a gap between the large senior class and a large class of first years, has contributed greatly to the early success of the team.

"What's made our team chemistry so special is that there's a lot of shared leadership," said Shibles. "Our seniors bring a wealth of experience, but each and every one of our players—and especially our returners—take a lot of ownership in the team."

The Polar Bears, ranked No. 10 nationally, fell to Amherst in last year's NESCAC championship and lost a tight game in overtime to Babson in the third round of last year's NCAA tournament.

While Henrikson said she didn't consider the NCAA loss to be an early exit, it has certainly kept the team from being too complacent in its approach to the season.

"We're definitely looking to go as far, if not farther, this year," said Henrikson.

With Bowdoin's strong core of seniors and a talented group of first years, there is little reason to doubt the feasibility of that goal.

The Polar Bears face Colby in Waterville tomorrow, with a 2 p.m. tipoff. Bowdoin will then host games against Husson and Bates next week.