COLUMBUS — She was the girl whose parents kept telling her she’d been outside shooting baskets long enough and she should come into the house. The girl who was always hearing to quit bouncing a basketball in the house.
That’s part of the story of how Caity Matter Henniger became a player who scored more than 2,200 points in high school at Bluffton, then scored more than 1,500 points at Ohio State.
It’s also one of the reasons she is being inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame this year.
Her name is in the Ohio State women’s basketball record book among the leaders in three categories — all of them for shooting from distance.
Her 267 made 3-pointers in her career are second all-time at OSU. Her 41.1 career shooting percentage on threes is third-best ever. And her 85.6 career shooting percentage at the free throw line is No. 1 in that category.
“I put a heck of a lot of work into it. If you ask my parents they were always telling me that I needed to come inside or to stop dribbling in the house. I really enjoyed the process of getting better and I just really enjoyed shooting,” Henniger said.
“I really enjoyed the art of the shot, I guess, from how you put your hands on the ball, how you follow through and understanding if you miss a shot why you missed it. You can break it down to the minutia of it why something didn’t go in.”
In the summertime she used to put up around a thousand shots a day, including free throws. Lots of free throws.
“I definitely worked on my free throw shooting. I took pride in having a high percentage there and being able to put points on the board when needed. My grandpa always told me those are freebies, you’d better take advantage of those,” she said.
Bluffton had an overall record of 91-11 in her four years of high school basketball and was Division III state runner-up in 2000. Henniger was the Division III Player of the Year as a junior and senior. She committed to Ohio State as a sophomore and finished her high school career with 2,274 points.
At Ohio State, including a redshirt season because of an injury, she scored 1,523 points. The Buckeyes won more than 20 games four of the five seasons Henniger was at OSU and were 30-5 and Big Ten co-champion her senior season. She played one season in the WNBA with the Charlotte Sting.
Bluffton’s 2000 state runner-up team was recognized at a boys basketball game earlier this year.
“I think really just building the relationships is probably the biggest thing I took out of that,” Henniger said about her high school career. “We had a heck of a lot of fun and we won a few games along the way. I think just seeing the community get behind us — that’s a big thing about growing up in a small town— you get the entire community behind you and it’s pretty fun to be a part of.”
These days she still plays basketball occasionally but her biggest athletic outlet is CrossFit, a combination of weight lifting, endurance sports, running, jumping and other things.
She discovered CrossFit in 2008 and became the CrossFit Games champion that year. She also met her future husband, Bill Henniger, who owned the CrossFit gym in Columbus where she trained.
That gym has transitioned into Rogue Fitness, described as “the leading manufacturer of American-made strength and training equipment” in a 2018 Inc.Com Magazine story naming it as the magazine’s Company of the Year.
Rogue Fitness employs 850 people after recently adding 220 workers, which is related to the stay at home instructions some state governments have given out because of the coronavirus pandemic. Some of that increase is because more people are working out at home and some of it is that Rogue Fitness has begun to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) items.
“We went from 600 to almost 850 overnight between manufacturing and distribution. A lot of people want to work out because they can’t go to the gym. About a week into the thing we transitioned our development team into making PPE for the front line guys. We make face shields and masks and we’re working on a respirator right now that just got approved. It’s been interesting,” said Henniger, who is the company’s chief sales officer.
The Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled for June 6 but could be delayed because of the coronavirus.
Four other people with northwest Ohio and western Ohio connections are among this year’s inductees.
Former Bowling Green men’s basketball standout Antonio Daniels had a long NBA career. Ericka Haney is from Toledo Central Catholic High School, played at Notre Dame and is an assistant coach for Ohio State’s women’s basketball team.
Kelvin Ransey played for Toledo Macomber, scored nearly 2,000 points at Ohio State and played in the NBA. John “Bucky” Albers, who grew up in Fort Loramie, was a sportswriter at the Dayton Journal Herald and Dayton Daily News where he covered the Cincinnati Reds, University of Dayton basketball, professional golf and other sports.
The Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame, established in 2006, honors athletes, coaches and contributors from high school, college and professional basketball.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.