Harrison a shooter, stopper

Colfax grad making major contributions for CCAA’s top team
By: Ray Hacke Journal Sports Correspondent
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Courtney Harrison is primarily a defense-first player for Chico State’s women’s basketball team. “She has long arms and long legs, and she’s a bit stronger than she appears to be,” Wildcats coach Brian Fogel said. “She definitely has the foot speed to stop people on the perimeter, and she does a nice job of staying in front of folks.” Yet even though the Colfax High graduate says she got the bulk of her playing time as a freshman and sophomore because of her ability to frustrate shooters, Harrison can frustrate defenders, too. She averaged 10.4 points and hit 17 3-pointers in her final seven games of 2009-10 and had her first career 20-point game in that span. “She gave us a huge spark shooting 3-pointers for us — she was over 50 percent from behind the arc,” Fogel said. Harrison’s playing time has more than doubled since last season, from 8.3 to 21.3 minutes per game. The 5-foot-8 junior guard has appeared in all 10 of Chico State’s games, starting three, and has helped the Wildcats (9-1) — ranked 20th in NCAA Division II — perch atop the California Collegiate Athletic Association standings with a 6-0 conference record. Along with the increased playing time, however, have come some struggles. Now being guarded more closely by CCAA foes, Harrison is shooting 24.7 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from 3-point range, averaging 6.7 points a game. “What she did last season was absolutely sensational,” Fogel said. “But she’s a marked person now.” Harrison won’t give opposing defenders that much credit. “I haven’t taken the best shots,” she said. “A lot of it’s in my head — I’ve been playing a lot of mental games. If I can get that problem solved, I’ll be fine.” Harrison is as dedicated to improving her game as she once was to raising her pet goat — a subject of frequent, good-natured teasing from her teammates and her coach. “I had to be committed to doing it every day and doing it on time,” Harrison said. “If he didn’t eat, I wasn’t allowed to eat.” She also hopes to emulate her favorite player, former Sacramento Monarchs star Ruthie Bolton-Holifield. “I used to be super into her in middle school and high school,” Harrison said. “I wrote a paper on her. “She was a super-hard worker and she did really, really well on defense. She was more of a hard driver than I am, but that’s something I can work on because at the college level everyone can shoot.” A kinesiology major, Harrison eventually hopes to be a coach or administrator at the high school or college level. For now, though, she merely hopes to be a contributor to Chico State’s continued success on the court this season. “She’s a solid contributor night in and night out,” Fogel said. “We’re looking forward to her only getting better with each and every game.”