Just four games into the season, the women's basketball team is well on its way toward another winning year, thanks in large part to captain Jill Henrikson '12.
Henrikson was awarded NESCAC Player of the Week after scoring 21 points (along with seven steals, 10 rebounds and three assists) last Tuesday against the University of New England to lead Bowdoin to its third win in three games.
She is currently averaging 18.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.25 steals, and 2.0 assists per game, which places her second in the NESCAC in points and first in steals per game.
Henrikson, who grew up just down the road in Bath, started playing basketball in a second-grade league in her hometown. She fell in love with the sport immediately and has been playing ever since.
"My dad played basketball in high school and my grandfather played for the Naval Academy," said Henrikson. "My older brother and younger sister play too. We had a hoop outside our house and we were always playing outside with my parents."
Growing up so close to Bowdoin, Henrikson knew early on that she wanted to end up playing basketball as a Polar Bear.
"I always got to come to the games when I was little and the basketball camps in the summer," she said. "In high school, I always loved basketball and played with a great group of girls, and I just wanted to carry that into college."
Henrikson did just that, earning the title of NESCAC Rookie of the Year as a first year. But her momentum was soon halted by a series of injuries. That spring she hurt her shoulder, and she tore her anterior cruciate ligament in the third game of her sophomore season.
"Jill has faced lots of adversity in her time at Bowdoin and I'm always impressed with how she approaches each situation," said Head Coach Adrienne Shibles.
"With her injuries, she never let the team see when she was upset or disappointed," she added. "She has an amazing inner strength that inspires me and a toughness that lets you know she is not going to let anyone walk all over her."
Henrikson admits that she is competitive, but it is her love for her teammates that has kept her motivated throughout her many years of basketball.
"We lost some great players and scorers last season, but we have five seniors this year—a core group of leaders," she said. "You go through the highs and lows together as a group, and it's so nice to have a great group of women to experience it all with."
Shibles agrees that for Henrikson, the competitive spirit is for the good of the team.
"I know who she is and for Jill, it's not all about Jill," said Shibles. "It's about the team. She could be First Team All-American at the end of this year, but she really won't be happy unless the team does well."
Henrikson hopes to maintain her strong play in upcoming games as the No. 10 Polar Bears head into the height of their season.
When asked how her teammates would describe her, she laughed.
"They would say I was weird," she confessed. "I'm always just saying what's on my mind, and I don't have too much of a filter around the team."
The sports editor chooses the Athlete of the Week based on exemplary performance.