For Betsy Kingma’s family, it’s always been about basketball. It started with her dad and his younger brother and branched down to her and many of her cousins. And Betsy was destined to play at Seattle Pacific.
Kingma, a redshirt junior guard, started playing when she was four. Her dad decided that was the time to push her in the direction of basketball. And even then, he thought it was too late.
“My dad came home from the first practice and told my mom he had started me too late,” Kingma said. “I was the only girl on my team, and I was too timid compared to the other guys.”
But that didn’t stop her from playing basketball and a variety of other sports. In high school, she also played soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball, while also competing in track and swimming. By her junior and senior year of high school, she cut it down to only basketball because she knew that’s what she wanted to do.
SPU has always been the school for Kingma because it’s where her uncle played basketball. Growing up, she went to four youth camps that they hosted and went to plenty of games with her dad and her uncle.
Basketball has been a family affair for the Kingmas. Betsy had one cousin who played at the University of Washington, one who played at the University of Oregon and Washington State, as well as two other cousins who are high school seniors and are both going to play at UW.
The family has left its basketball footprint in Northwest college basketball, and Betsy is still building on to her legacy here. On the women’s basketball team, she is seen as the 3-point specialist.
“Betsy is a very good shooter,” head coach Julie Heisey said. “She is definitely our best 3-point shooter, and we can rely on her to make those shots.”
Over the past three years, Kingma has a .436 average from behind the 3-point line. She made 60 percent of her threes last year, but only played two games before she separated her shoulder and missed the rest of the season.
This year, she is shooting .353 from beyond the arc. Although that number is down compared to her other years, the team as a whole is shooting .275.
She adds a huge presence and can almost always be counted on to make a 3-pointer.
Although she makes shooting threes look easy, it has taken her years of practice to master the art of the 3-pointer. She attributes her success to constantly going to the gym with her dad.
“We would go to the gym and shoot every time my dad would get home from work,” Kingma said. “Eventually, I would go to the gym before school in middle school and shoot after practice in high school.”
In a normal workout, Kingma would take at least 100 3-pointers. As a rough estimate as to how many threes she’s taken in her entire life, she puts the bar upward of 10,000. This is after the fact that her dad wouldn’t let her take threes in games growing up, as well.
“He thought it would mess up my form,” Kingma said. “He wouldn’t let me take any [threes] until I was in eighth grade, so it was a big deal once I was old enough to start taking threes.”
Kingma has bounced back well this year, mostly by hitting a lot of threes. She came up big against Saint Martin’s a couple of weeks ago when she hit five of her seven 3-point attempts in a much-needed GNAC win.
In the 18 games that she has played this year, Kingma has averaged 9.5 points, three rebounds and two assists per game. She also averages 30.5 minutes per game, all while developing a stress fracture in her foot.
From the constant wear and tear of offseason training and the season itself, Kingma developed the stress fracture right around Christmas. This doesn’t stop her from playing in games, but she does have to wear a boot on her foot whenever she is not playing.
After missing most of last season due to the shoulder injury, Kingma is not too keen on the idea of sitting out this season, as well. She plans on playing through the injury for the rest of the year and will let it heal naturally in the offseason.
“Betsy is definitely a tough girl,” Heisey said. “She wants to fight through the injury because this team means so much to her.”
With all the injuries that the SPU team has accumulated over the year, the last thing it needs is to lose another player. With six games left in the season, the team will start making its push toward the GNAC crown. And Kingma will be right there with them, shooting her threes.