At the Division III level of NCAA sports, four-year careers are the norm. Athletes play without scholarship money, and most stay at the same school for four years, recruited and trained by the same coaching staff throughout.
Senior Jenny Haskell has not had a normal career.. Haskell, originally from Murphys, Calif., started her career at Lewis & Clark College (L&C) in Portland, Ore. An injury-plagued freshman season limited Haskell to just 17 minutes in seven games. In her sophomore season, Haskell rarely left the bench—recording 47 minutes in a paltry seven appearances.
Haskell, dismayed with her playing time and the coaching staff at L&C, transferred to Knox. It was an easy decision for Haskell, as Knox was her second choice out of high school.
“Knox was somewhere that I knew academically I wanted to go,” Haskell said. “That’s pretty much how I chose Knox. I was excited to be part of a program I could make a difference in.”
Haskell started her career at Knox during head coach Emily Cline’s first season at the helm and proved to be a factor from day one. In the third game of the season, a 76-65 victory over Lawrence University, Haskell scored 14 points, dished out four assists and made seven steals.
In her first three games at Knox, Haskell had played more minutes (72) than in her two seasons at L&C (64). Knox finished the season with a 10-13 overall record, 5-11 in the Midwest Conference. Haskell started 20 of the team’s 23 games, averaging 9.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.
But in her senior season, Haskell had to do more than just play. She was the lone senior on a team that had graduated four seniors the season before. Having played just one season at Knox, Haskell had to step up.
She did. Haskell led the team in scoring, steals, blocks, assists and was second in rebounding. Against Buena Vista University on Jan. 2, Haskell scored 31 points—the third highest-scoring game in school history. On Jan. 29, Haskell was just one rebound short of a triple double, as she scored 26 points and had ten steals.
Her total of 326 points in 2010-2011 put her in sixth place on the all-time single-season scoring list at Knox.
But the high point of Haskell’s season came on Senior Night against Lake Forest on Feb. 16. After a 77-45 drubbing by the Foresters in January, the Prairie Fire were out to avenge that loss—and to send their lone senior out on a high note.
Steady inside play from juniors Kelly Ricketts and Krystyna Williams kept the Prairie Fire in the game. Knox claimed the lead with under a minute to play and held a 50-47 lead with under twenty seconds left.
Haskell, as she did all season, intercepted a Lake Forest pass in the backcourt with 12 seconds remaining and eluded defenders, milking almost ten seconds off the clock before she was fouled. She sank both free throws, clinching a 52-47 win for Knox.
“That game, in so many ways, was everything that I could have wanted for a senior night,” Haskell said. “We won because everyone stepped up. It was really beautiful to see the team do that.”
Though Haskell was just 2-12 from the field, she was 11-12 from the free throw line, and finished with 15 points, six assists, six rebounds and six steals.
Haskell will graduate in June with a B.A. in Psychology. She doesn’t know when she’ll play next, though she says she wants to “keep playing somehow,” and is sure she will coach somewhere down the line.
“I hope to be able to pass on my knowledge and experience,” Haskell said.
After the last four years, there’s no telling where Haskell might end up.