She earned all-conference and all-area honors four times and all-state recognition twice in basketball at Barneveld High School.
Inger Hodgson hasn't been the same player since—she's better.
The North Dakota State University junior guard has made huge strides, especially this year, in making the transition from being a dominating Division 4 prep star to surviving in the world of Division I women's hoops.
"I played everything from small forward, to the No. 2 guard and then point guard during our state tournament run as a senior, and to be quite honest, being a college point guard is completely different," Hodgson said. "I don't think if I would have played that position all four years in high school that it would have prepared me for the speed and quickness of the college game."
Hodgson stumbled a bit during her first two seasons in Fargo, but she's been picking up serious momentum in helping the Bison open with a 2-0 mark in Summit League play and 4-5 record overall.
The 5-foot-8-inch Hodgson has switched back to shooting guard and is second on the squad in scoring at 12.8 points per game and in field-goal shooting at 48.2 percent. She has topped the Bison in scoring three times, including a career-high 22-point effort that helped her gain conference player of the week honors recently.
Hodgson leads Carolyn DeHoff's team in steals (21) and has averaged 40.9 percent from three-point range and 71.4 percent from the free-throw line while adding 5.1 rebounds per outing.
Still, she wasn't used to struggling—including a knee injury that slowed her as a freshman--at something that had come so easy as a prep standout, a game she has loved since watching her sister, Heidi, play on Barneveld units that reached state in 1998-99.
"I have to admit, I struggled for the first year and a half, almost two years," the public relations and advertising major said. "I had a lot of ups and downs, but I'm glad that I had the patience to wait, and it's starting to pay off. A lot of it has to do with maturity and experience. I've gotten a lot more playing time than many kids who join a D-I program. I'm smarter and feeling more comfortable because I've caught up to the quickness of the game."
"The new defensive style and the motion offense have benefited my game," Hodgson said. "I just mesh better with what we're doing. The offense allows us a lot of freedom. I just feel much more comfortable with the ball and in what I'm doing."
Hodgson was the first Barneveld player to receive a D-I scholarship offer, selecting the Bison over interest from such other programs as UW-Milwaukee, UW-Green Bay, Cleveland State, Villanova, Creighton and IUPUI as well as an opportunity to walk on at Wisconsin.
And although she's grown on and off the court since joining NDSU, Hodgson said she received plenty of help that prepared her for overcoming such obstacles.
"I had tremendous family support," she said. "My parents, my grandpa and my brother and sister have come all the way (eight hours) to see me play. If I hadn't played at Barneveld, I wouldn't be here. To a lot of people, the only things they think of when you say Barneveld are the (1984) tornado and girls basketball. It was special to play for Coach (Jim) Myers and I'm thankful for what the program did for me, which is give me the desire to play basketball."