© — Photo by Mark Campbell/University of Delaware Athletics.
St. John’s native and University of Delaware Blue Hens player Hannah Jardine brings the ball up court during a recent NCAA women’s basketball game against the University of North Carolina Wilmington Seahawks. Through her first 14 games, the freshman is averaging 3.2 points-per-game and has gone from being a bench player to a starter under head coach Tina Martin.
St. John’s native adjusting well to NCAA hoops
It shouldn’t be any surprise that playing at the NCAA level has been a big adjustment for the province’s top basketball player.
St. John’s native Hannah Jardine, one of five rookies on the University of Delaware Blue Hens team, says her time so far with Delaware has “definitely been a learning experience.”
“When we first started playing games I was playing with a lot of nerves,” she said.
The a six-foot forward out of O’Donel High School in Mount Pearl added, “Lately, I’ve felt a lot more comfortable on the floor and have continued to improve in different aspects each game we’ve played. I’m happy with some things I’ve done, but definitely not satisfied and plan to continue to improve as much as I can to help my team in any way possible.”
She said she knew the level of play in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) conference would be intense.
“But a big adjustment was the quickness and speed of some of our opponents,” she noted. “I had to put in a lot of hard work on the defensive end to be able to keep up with quicker players and to play a lot smarter on defence.
“My minutes have definitely varied over the season. Not sure what I am averaging playing, time wise,” she said, “but I have made a lot of progress over the past few months.”
In 14 games, Jardine has a 3.2 points-per-game average with 48 rebounds and five blocked shots.
Jardine started Nov. 8 with 12 minutes off the bench followed by a 20-minute stint the same month.
By Jan. 5, she was up to 32 minutes off the bench. She started her last four games playing, on average, 25 minutes each time out.
“The game is at a pretty high level down here so I have had to work extremely hard to improve my game,” she said.
“I am continuing to make improvements every day and have began to help my team more as my game has continued to get better.”
The mechanical engineering major said things are going pretty well off the court as well.
“I’m definitely getting used to the college life and enjoying it,” Jardine said this week.
“We just finished up fall semester before Christmas and I’m currently taking a course during winter session. Balancing school and basketball is definitely tough,” she added, “but I’ve learned to manage my time pretty well and have gotten used to studying on the road.”
Jardine said being away from her family and friends is tough, but she’s been able to keep in contact through Skype, which has made things easier.
She also admitted, “It was tough at first to adjust to the intensity of the coaching staff during our practices. I have always had an intense attitude towards playing, but keeping that focus and attention for three hour practices a day, seven days a week was a challenge at first.”
Jardine said Hens’ head coach Tina Martin has helped her throughout the year.
“She has given me a lot of positive feedback at times, but she’s always pushing us to get better every day, which I appreciate.
“This is only the beginning of my journey here at the university. I’m really enjoying working the hardest I ever have to bring my game to the next level.”
According to Martin, Jardine is doing just that.
“Hannah has been starting for us and doing very well,” Martin said Thursday night.
“She has really stepped up and played more physical, especially in the rebounding area. She has improved her defense and I expect her to continue to be a starter.”
Martin pointed out Jardine has started at the 3-guard position as well as the 4-player forward position.
“I’m very pleased with her attitude and work ethic. She has been a great addition to our program.”
The Blue Hens currently are currently sporting an 11-5 record while starting three freshmen.
So far, Jardine says, one of best moments in her first season was the team’s home win in overtime against Hofstra a week ago.
“That was our first game of the CAA conference. Our team went down early and was able to come back and pull out a victory. It was awesome.”
Jardine contributed nine points and five rebounds in 32 minutes off the bench in the game, which drew over 2,000 fans.
She said the fans have helped make her time at Delaware a pleasant experience.
“The support of the Delaware fans has been incredible. This is a real university town and the support from fans young and old has been amazing. Many people have come up to me after games to introduce themselves and have followed us to our away games. They’ve really welcomed me into the Blue Hen family.”