December 30, 2022 

Hennie van Schaik is ready for year two

The second-year forward from the Netherlands is looking to build on a strong freshman season

For the Cal State Bakersfield (CSUB) women’s basketball team, to say last season was a tough one would be a major understatement.

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The Roadrunners would win their first game on Nov. 9 against Bethesda of the National Christian College Athletics Association, then wouldn’t win another game until Feb. 5 against Cal State Fullerton. The majority of the season was filled with losses and coronavirus cancellations. They would finish with an overall record of 5-20 and 3-11 in Big West Conference Play.

Despite that, there were a few positives that the team was able to take away from the 2021-22 season. For starters, they had a tremendous showing at the end of the season conference tournament, upsetting Cal State Northridge in the first round. They followed that up by putting a huge scare into eventual champion Hawaii.

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The other positive the Roadrunners could hang their hats on was Hennie van Schaik being named to the Big West All-Freshman Team. Hailing from the Netherlands, van Schaik began her freshman year with a bang, coming off the bench to put up 13 points and 14 rebounds in the CSUB’s win over Bethesda. Her play tailed off a little bit after that but by mid-season, she was in the starting lineup and looking much more comfortable on the court.

She was essentially thrown to the fire from the get-go in her first season of college basketball and she believes it helped her a lot with her transition to the NCAA.

“Last season I just got thrown out there; I got a lot of playing time for a freshman,” van Schaik told The Next. “I think getting thrown out there at the beginning, I was really struggling, but I think that really helped me and that definitely helped me become the player I am today. This year my role is different, it just builds from last year.”

This season, the Roadrunners faced heavy losses with their top five scorers completing their eligibility. To begin the 2022-23 season, van Schaik was once again in the starting lineup with a different twist. She found herself as one of the focal points of the offense as well as someone expected to take on more of a leadership role.

To start the season she looked comfortable in her role as the Roadrunners’ primary offensive option. She had 11 points and six rebounds in a loss against USC on Nov. 8 and she followed that up with 17 points and six rebounds in a win over Fresno State.

She was sidelined for about a month since Nov. 20, but she made her return to the court on Dec. 17 against UCLA. She came off the bench in that game but was back in the starting lineup on Dec. 22 against Pacific. She’s still getting back up to speed again but she pulled down nine rebounds in the win over Pacific.

She’s still adjusting to playing at the NCAA level, but she believes she’s up to the task of helping lead this young team.

“I’m more of a leader now and the coaches have really high expectations on me especially on the offensive end to help my team out,” van Schaik said. “I’m from Europe so basketball is really different there. Here it’s more physical with kind of different moves. It was hard for me, I would not be as aggressive as everybody else. That’s what I’ve been working on a lot since I started playing here.”

In today’s game, where post players are being asked to do more than just be a traditional back-to-the-basket type of player, van Schaik is definitely in the mold of a player who can thrive in modern offenses. She’s a 6’3 mobile big who can alternate between power forward and center. She can draw opposing defenses out to the perimeter with her shooting ability, she can put the ball on the floor and make plays and she can post up and score in the paint.

But it wasn’t like she added all of that to her game in order to keep up with modern basketball. Growing up in the Netherlands, she started out her basketball journey as a guard. As she hit a growth spurt, she retained all of those skills and now she’s one of the most versatile players in the Big West. She believes it makes her that much more effective to be able to score in multiple ways.

“Sometimes I’ll have somebody shorter than me that’s guarding me and that should be an easy score since I’m taller,” van Schaik said. “I was a late grower and so until I was about 12 I always played point guard. Now that I’m taller I’m obviously playing in the post and doing post-up moves, but I still got that in my game. It’s good to have that combination.”

Prior to arriving at Cal State Bakersfield, van Schaik had experience playing in one of the highest levels of basketball in The Netherlands at the Centre for Sports and Education. In 2018 she helped the team win a national championship. This past summer, she joined the Dutch U20 national team and participated in the FIBA U20 European Championships.

Playing for the national team was a tremendous opportunity for her and she plans to continue playing for them.

“We play a European championship so it’s like playing against the best players in my age,” van Schaik said. “That’s just a really good experience and I’m also honored to play for my country. It was just really an amazing experience.”

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Through four games so far this season, van Schaik has doubled her scoring average from 4.3 points per game as a freshman to 8.3 points as a sophomore. She’s upped her efficiency to 42.9 percent shooting from the field from the 35.8 percent she shot last season. She actually hasn’t connected on any of her eight attempts from three-point range this season but she has that ability to knock them down. She’s also pulling down more rebounds to the tune of 5.8 per game.

As the Roadrunners are set to enter Big West Conference play, they sit at 3-5 and most recently defeated Pacific of the West Coast Conference on the road. With the bulk of the season left to be played, van Schaik definitely has some goals she wants to accomplish, including a strong showing in the conference tournament.

“Last year I made the All-Freshman team so I’m trying to make the conference first team this year,” van Schaik said. “And honestly, I just want to help my team. We’re trying to get that ring.”

David has been with The Next team since the High Post Hoops days when he joined the staff in 2018. He is based in Los Angeles and covers the LA Sparks, Pac-12 Conference, Big West Conference and some high school as well.

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