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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Senior Spotlight: Henson reflects on milestone, attributes feat to work ethic

Meg Boles
Texas State graduate student Guard Ja’Niah Henson (1) reads the defense, Saturday Jan. 20, 2024, at Strahan Arena.

Texas State graduate student guard Ja’Niah Henson has accomplished many achievements during her collegiate career, most recently surpassing 1000 points. The journey to 1000 points was a long and challenging one, both physically and mentally for the Baltimore native.

Henson began her career at Morgan State University, a historically Black college, where she averaged 13.8 points, 1.9 steals and 2.3 assists per game while leading the Bears to their first Women’s National Invitation appearance in 12 years. Henson was also named HBCU All-American Second Team Honors.

“I remember my first time seeing Ja’Niah for the first time at Morgan State when she was a freshman and I’m just like, ‘Wow,’” Texas State Head Coach Zenarae Antoine said. “When she was willing to come to Texas State, I already knew she was going to be productive because she was willing to leave her hometown, her comfort zone.”

Henson left her local HBCU to be a part of a winning culture that surrounds itself with integrity and hard work in Texas State. The transition to the Bobcats was easy due to Antoine and her coaching staff according to Henson.

“I felt like it was time for a change, I wanted to go somewhere and hopefully win a conference championship,” Henson said. “My coaches, facility and staff around Texas State have also made the transition pleasurable as they have always been to my aid when I have needed anything.”

Henson’s teammates said they look up to her and admire her versatility when it comes to playing so far from home and taking on a new set of challenges in a different state.

According to junior forward Jaylin Foster, Henson leads by example.

“If I had to depend on one person to show up and show out every day, I’d definitely say Ja’Niah,” Foster said. “She’s a great person when it comes to just wanting it and wanting it on the court and just knowing she has our backs, and we can count on her.”

Henson said her leadership role on the team comes from her strong work ethic.

“I think what makes me a role model is my work ethic,” Henson said. “Being able to show people that everything is possible through willingness to put in the work on and off the court.”

Antoine said she understood that moving from an HBCU to Texas State was a big transition for Henson. However, Henson’s work ethic and versatility on the court have set her apart from others.

“One of the positives she brings off the bat is what we consider in basketball ‘a walking bucket’,” Antoine said. “What I most appreciate is that she’s had to make changes in order to find what’s best for her. She’s had to make compromises in different ways to see and figure out how to make this work for her because it’s extremely different.”

Henson transferred to Texas State having scored 927 career points at Morgan State. On November 26 against Texas A&M Corpus Christi Henson surpassed the 1,000-point career mark with a 10-point performance.

Reaching 1,000 points wasn’t something Henson was particularly working toward, but it came naturally through her work ethic as she’s always in the gym, she said.

“Scoring 1,000 points as a player means a lot [to me] because it’s a milestone that a lot of people at the collegiate level do not get to experience,” Henson said. “There have been countless sleepless nights in the gym since I was younger. I believe that the work you put in will show in your results. I’ve sacrificed a lot as a kid including my social life making sure that I was always perfecting my craft, and trusting the work, I had put in.”

Looking back on her growth, Henson said she credits her milestone achievement to many things, but the main one is her personal relationship with God. Growing up, she realized if she truly wanted to be good at something, sacrifices needed to be made for the greater good, she said.

“I am God fearing, and I do accredit many things to Him,” Henson said. “Understanding that faith without work is dead, meaning that you have to be willing to do the work and sacrifice in order to see the things that you want in fruition.”

During the 2023-24 season Henson has averaged 15.2 points and 1.8 assists and shot 6.2% from the 3-point line per game and has been Texas State’s leading scorer and most consistent source of offense. As the end of the season approaches, she said she hopes to graduate with a degree and continue playing the sport that she loves.

“After the season I will be finishing off the school semester strong, potentially vacationing and looking into my professional opportunities for basketball,” Henson said.

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