|Competitor for the United States|
|U18 and U19|
|Gold||1988 U18 Sao Paulo, Brazil||Team Competition|
|FIBA World Championship|
|Gold||1990 Malaysia||Team Competition|
|Pan American Games|
|Bronze||1991 Havana||Team Competition|
Sonja L. Henning (born October 4, 1969) is an American attorney and former collegiate and professional women's basketball player. Born in Jackson, Tennessee, she grew up in Racine, Wisconsin, where she attended Horlick High School.
She attended Stanford University and played for its women's basketball team from 1987 to 1991. She helped the Cardinal win the 1990 NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship game, defeating Auburn University. The following year, Henning was named Pac-10 Player of the Year and a Kodak All-American in her senior season.
After graduation, there were few opportunities for women to play professional basketball in the United States at the time, so Henning started her professional career playing in a women's professional basketball team in Uppsala, Sweden in 1992.
Henning was a member of the USA Women's U18 team which won the gold medal at the FIBA Americas Championship in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The event was known as the Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament at the time. The event was held in August 1988, when the USA team defeated the host team Brazil by a score of 70–68 to win the championship. Henning sank two free throws with under one second remaining in the game to win the final game and the gold medal.
Henning also played with the USA team at the 1991 Pan American Games. The team finished with a record of 4–2, but managed to win the bronze medal. The USA team lost a three point game to Brazil, then responded with wins over Argentina and Cuba, earning a spot in the medal round. The next game was a rematch against Cuba, and this time the team from Cuba won a five point game. The USA beat Canada easily to won the bronze. Gordon averaged 3 points per game.
Resuming professional basketball
In 1996, the American Basketball League (ABL) was formed, and Henning tried out for a playing spot on a team in the new league. Henning was eventually drafted by the San Jose Lasers, a team which also featured former Stanford players Jennifer Azzi, Anita Kaplan, and Val Whiting.
She played for the Lasers for two seasons, then joined the Portland Power until financial difficulties led to the ABL's demise in 1998.
Henning joined the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) after being selected in the second round (24th overall pick) by the Houston Comets during its 1999 WNBA Draft and helped the Comets to its third straight WNBA championship season. During that same year, she also served as the president of the WNBA Players Union.
In 2000, the WNBA held an expansion draft for current players to join newly formed teams. Henning was selected by the Seattle Storm and played with the team from 2000 to part of the 2002 season until she was traded back to the Comets.
After the 2002 season ended, she became a free agent, and signed a contract with the Washington Mystics on May 5, 2003, but was waived by the team three weeks later. In June 2003, Henning signed a contract with the Indiana Fever and played for them during that season.
Henning served as president of the Women’s National Basketball Players Association from 2001 to 2003.
She retired from the WNBA in 2004.
Life after basketball
After serving two years as general counsel for Lucy.com, a startup Internet company that sells women's sporting apparel, Henning joined the law firm Tonkon Torp LLP, located in Portland, Oregon. She is currently an attorney specializing in labor and employment litigation matters.
Sonja left Tonkon Torp and took a position with Nike in Beaverton in a marketing role.
A civic activist, Henning currently serves on the board of directors for the Urban League of Portland.
In May 2005, Henning was elected to a seat on the Portland School Board in a landslide victory with over 70 percent of the vote.
WNBA Career Totals
WNBA Career Averages
WNBA Career Playoff Totals
WNBA Career Playoff Averages
- "FIRST WOMEN'S JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING TEAM -- 1988". USA Basketball. Retrieved 15 Oct 2013.
- "ELEVENTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FOR WOMEN -- 1990". USA Basketball. Retrieved 24 Oct 2013.
- "ELEVENTH PAN AMERICAN GAMES -- 1991". USA Basketball. Retrieved 24 Oct 2013.
- Tonkon Torp LLP biography
- WNBA player profile
- 2004 Stanford Magazine article: Whatever Happened To...Sonja Henning
- 2003 Indiana Fever article