She’s a mechanical engineering major who writes poetry but dreams of being a physician.
She calls Canada home, but is fulfilling her NCAA dreams 1,798 miles away in Newark, Delaware. She’s the latest in a long line of family basketball standouts, but dabbled in competition figure skating and ballet, and learned to play piano by age 5.
She’s also the latest Blue Hen to be called UD’s next great Olympic hope, following in the size-13 footsteps of her record-shattering predecessor on the women’s basketball team, Elena Delle Donne, EHD13.
Hannah Jardine, EG17, is the kind of person who seems naturally suited to a life of superlatives and standout accomplishments, taking them in stride as smoothly as she drills yet another shot or snags another rebound. In her three years on the team, the 6-foot-1 forward has compiled a three-pointer percentage of 39.8, just shy of Delle Donne’s school record of 40.9.
But the season that’s now underway brings perhaps her greatest challenge: Act as mentor and leader to a squad that has lost four seniors (including record-setting scorer Courtni Green, AS16), gained four freshmen and faces one of the toughest non-conference schedules in years.
Those new faces and new challenges have also meant a new excitement on the court, says Jardine, who will lead the team with fellow co-captain Erika Brown, HS17, under the hard-driving guidance of longtime coach Tina Martin.
“She brings a lot of passion,” Jardine says of Martin, who has led the Blue Hens to seven straight Colonial Athletic Association tournament semifinals. “We feed off it, then we’re really ramped up and ready to go.”
Coming off a 16-15 record last year, the Hens face six teams this season that reached the NCAA or WNIT post-season tournaments, including Michigan State, Georgetown and Army. High-caliber play is something that Jardine is accustomed to—as a 6-foot-tall 14-year-old, she was the youngest player to make the Newfoundland Canada Games Team, and has been part of two bronze-medal-winning International Basketball Federation teams as a teenager, in 2011 and 2012.
Through it all, her gold medal aspirations have simmered, and a long career with Canada’s Olympic-caliber national team remains one of her many dreams. For now, though, it’s all about this year, all about being a Blue Hen—and all about managing the enormous pressure of academics and athletics.
“It has been crazy,” she said of the challenges of tackling one of school’s toughest majors (and minoring in biomechanics) while juggling practices and games. “But it will only help make other things in life seem easier.”