It’s been a minute since we’ve seen Henna Sandvik suit up in an Indiana uniform, as she was the only player who did not attend the team’s overseas exhibition tour in August.
While she was missed on the floor in Greece, the 6-0 guard from Helsinki still spent the summer hooping. Sandvik was unable to join the rest of the Hoosiers on their trip as it overlapped with the FIBA U20 Women’s European Championship, an event at which she represented her native Finland.
Finland put on a decent showing in Riga, taking ninth and winning three straight placement games after falling to Israel in the round of 16. Sandvik, the only NCAA player on Finland’s roster, finished third on the team in points (9.6), rebounds (5.9), and assists (2.4) per game.
On the court
Sandvik is a prototypical Teri Moren ‘big’ guard, but struggled to get extended time last season. She appeared in 23 of Indiana’s 32 games, mainly seeing the floor when a starting guard got into foul trouble. She totaled 13 points, 17 rebounds, and five assists on the season.
With just 17 shot attempts as a Hoosier to her name, there’s not too much Indiana tape to go off here. Thanks to the powers of YouTube, however, we were able to study up on some of Finland’s games from this past summer, including Sandvik’s 21 point performance against Hungary. Verdict: It was good!
With Finland, Sandvik seemed decisive with the ball and was unafraid to mix it up down low. She’s even got a couple post moves we hope to see this season.
Watching her drive to the rack frequently was great, although a little unexpected, given that a corner three against North Carolina was her biggest play for Indiana last year. We had her pegged as a shooter.
Said three was an often overlooked “cool” moment from Indiana’s historic season. It came immediately after Sandvik checked in as the first guard off the bench, and lead to the birth of this Gem of a graphic:
Sandvik ended up logging 17 minutes in IU’s 87-63 victory over the Tar Heels. That game was probably her best of the season, and speaks to the trust the coaching staff already instills in #21.
Whether it’s from the paint or parking lot, we’d love to see Sandvik shoot the ball more this year. A known gym rat, she’s always arriving at practice early and staying late to get in extra reps.
Sandvik’s length helps her defensively because it allows her to take up more space. She can hedge between offensive players well and makes opposing entry passes difficult. It’s also worth noting that Sandvik also doesn’t foul a ton, and picked up just nine personals across 154 minutes last season.
Again, 154 minutes isn’t a lot, but we need to keep in mind that, as an international player, Sandvik’s typical first year growing pains were compounded by moving halfway across the world. These things take time.
With that being said, Sandvik’s continued involvement with the Finnish national team is a good omen. She spent last Thanksgiving back in Finland with the U20 team (missing out on the deservingly maligned “Las Vegas Invitational”) and had her best showing as a Hoosier immediately afterwards in the Carolina game. Suiting up for the Finns this summer will most certainly boost her confidence.
As far as expectations go, having a full year in the system down likely leads to more time on the floor for Sandvik. CQ will not be shocked if she spends 2023-24 serving as a dependable backup wing to Sydney Parrish.