Sonja Henning

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Not to be confused with Norweigan figure skater Sonja Henie.
Sonja Henning
Medal record
Women’s Basketball
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 in Jackson, Tennessee) is an American attorney and former collegiate and professional women's basketball player. She grew up in Racine, Wisconsin, where she attended Horlick High School.

Stanford University[edit]

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.

An economics major, Henning graduated from Stanford in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

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.

USA Basketball[edit]

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.[1]

Henning represented the USA at the World Championships held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in July of 1990. The team won all eight games, earning the gold medal. Henning scored 2.0 points per game.[2]

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.[3]

Duke University[edit]

After playing one season in Sweden, she enrolled in Duke University Law School in 1993 where she obtained a Juris Doctor in 1995.

Shortly after graduating from Duke, Henning starting working as an attorney specializing in labor and employment law for the Littler Mendelson law firm in Los Angeles, California.

Resuming professional basketball[edit]

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[edit]

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.

Career statistics[edit]

WNBA Career Totals

Year Team G GS MIN FGM FGA FTM FTA 3PTM 3PTA REB AST STL TO BLK PTS
1999 HOU 32 32 798 52 117 11 18 13 41 80 74 34 29 7 128
2000 SEA 32 32 980 53 151 37 61 25 66 86 79 61 54 3 168
2001 SEA 32 28 902 41 129 18 35 8 44 71 93 52 43 6 108
2002 SEA 8 5 207 8 22 2 4 0 4 26 15 9 7 1 18
HOU 23 10 521 18 52 5 11 3 12 58 51 23 36 6 44
2003 WSH 1 0 5 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
IND 23 1 290 11 42 2 8 0 9 25 29 14 13 0 24
Totals 151 108 3,703 183 514 75 137 49 176 346 341 194 182 23 490

WNBA Career Averages

Year Team MIN FG% FT% 3PT% REB AST STL TO BLK PTS
1999 HOU 24.9 .444 .611 .317 2.5 2.3 1.1 0.9 0.2 4.0
2000 SEA 30.6 .351 .607 .379 2.7 2.5 1.9 1.7 0.1 5.3
2001 SEA 28.2 .318 .514 .182 2.2 2.9 1.6 1.3 0.2 3.4
2002 SEA 25.9 .364 .500 .000 3.3 1.9 1.1 0.9 0.1 2.3
HOU 22.7 .346 .455 .250 2.5 2.2 1.0 1.6 0.3 1.9
2003 WSH 5.0 .000 .000 .000 0.0 0.0 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
IND 12.6 .262 .250 .000 1.1 1.3 0.6 0.6 0.0 1.0
Totals 24.5 .356 .547 .278 2.3 2.3 1.3 1.2 0.2 3.2

WNBA Career Playoff Totals

Year Team G GS MIN FGM FGA FTM FTA 3PTM 3PTA REB AST STL TO BLK PTS
1999 HOU 6 6 136 8 23 2 6 1 9 18 11 7 7 1 19
2002 HOU 3 3 48 0 9 0 0 0 2 4 4 1 2 0 0
Totals 9 9 184 8 32 2 6 1 11 22 15 8 9 1 19

WNBA Career Playoff Averages

Year Team MIN FG% FT% 3PT% REB AST STL TO BLK PTS
1999 HOU 22.7 .348 .333 .111 3.0 1.8 1.2 1.2 0.2 3.2
2002 HOU 16.0 .000 .000 .000 1.3 1.3 0.3 0.7 0.0 0.0
Totals 20.4 .250 .333 .091 2.4 1.7 0.9 1.0 0.1 2.1

References[edit]

  1. ^ "FIRST WOMEN'S JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING TEAM -- 1988". USA Basketball. Retrieved 15 Oct 2013. 
  2. ^ "ELEVENTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FOR WOMEN -- 1990". USA Basketball. Retrieved 24 Oct 2013. 
  3. ^ "ELEVENTH PAN AMERICAN GAMES -- 1991". USA Basketball. Retrieved 24 Oct 2013. 

External links[edit]