Cardinal QuickChats™ #1

Knowing how anxious and excited we all are for the start of the 2007/08 season, The Bootleg's Women's Hoops Columnist Sue Bair traveled down to Palo Alto and set up shop at Maples Pavilion for some quick words with junior forward Jillian Harmon and sophomore forward Michelle Harrison, each of whom is expected to be a major contributor in the Cardinal's campaign for the Pac-10 championship.

Cardinal QuickChats™ #1

The Bootleg spoke briefly with Cardinal forwards Jillian Harmon and Michelle Harrison after practice on Tuesday, October 30, 2007. 

Junior F Jillian Harmon had to rush off to class (a practice we heartily encourage!), but kindly stopped for a few words. On her approach this season as one of the more experienced players on a young team, Harmon said, "We had a lot of experience and leaders graduate from our team last year in "Kish" (Markisha Coleman), "New" (Kristen Newlin), Brooke (Smith) and Clare (Bodensteiner). Returning with so much experience, I'm trying to be more of a leader, just kind of lead by example and help the freshmen out."

Harmon said this about her three-point shooting, "I've been working on my perimeter shooting. Tara [VanDerveer] always said that was the key to elevating my game, so I just really took that to heart this summer and tried to work on my three-point shot."

About Stanford's tough non-conference schedule, Harmon offered, "They've scheduled an awesome pre-season for us! We're at Rutgers, then we're playing Connecticut, Tennessee, and even more in the Virgin Islands [at the Paradise Jam Tournament]. That will help us out when the end of the season rolls around." Continued Harmon, "We've been talking, even on the track in pre-season, that we've got Rutgers coming. What are they doing? We've been working hard. We're real motivated to go out there and play."

Sophomore F Michelle Harrison spoke about her role this coming season. "I think my role is stepping up as somebody…obviously a returning player's role, a big part of it, is to help the freshmen coming in. Tara [VanDerveer] has asked me to help the freshmen out, teach them things - offenses, getting them comfortable with their new roles coming in to college," explained Harrison. " I think they are going to depend on me a lot more for rebounding and being a defensive player, and just stepping up. I'm a sophomore now, and I've got the experience under me, so I need to just contribute that much more."

Harrison also discussed the summer workout regimen that had her coaches calling her the "most improved" of the returning players in terms of conditioning. "I worked with a trainer that I actually worked with the previous year before I came here as well," she said. "He's worked with people like LeBron James. He played in the NFL. He's really good. I worked with him all summer long. He helped me with my conditioning and my strength. I also played a lot, shot, ran, just tried to improve my overall game. I just tried to take summer seriously so I could come back conditioned and ready for the season."

The Cardinal play Utah on Nov 18th. Harrison, who is from Utah, said she is looking forward to that game very much. The Bootleg asked how many people she would have rooting for her in Salt Lake City. Harrison exclaimed, "I can't even count! It's kind of been the thing to spread the word. I've told everybody to tell their friends and their families to come, so I hope to see a good support crowd. It will be really fun to be able to go home and see a lot of people that I know and also to play against Utah. I'm excited for that!"

Asked what other games she has been anticipating, Harrison responded with "Our big competition games - Rutgers, UConn, Tennessee," she answered. "I think those games are going to be big because it's going to be really good competition and it will just help us be a better overall team coming into Pac-10 play and NCAAs. I feel this year, with our schedule, when we start hitting into the NCAA tournament, we shouldn't have any surprises like we did last year. We should be a lot more prepared because of the competition we'll play."

When asked if she thought the Pac-10 might be more difficult in 2007/2008, since many teams struggled with injuries last season, Harrison said, "I think the Pac-10 is getting better each year, but I still believe that we can handle ourselves and be able to take care of business. People are coming back from injuries, including J.J. (J.J. Hones) and Ros (Rosalyn Gold-Onwude), and so [the other teams] are coming back, we're coming back. If they get better, we have to get better as well, and I think we are ready for it."

And what course of study has Harrison chosen at Stanford? Has she declared a major yet? "I'm going to be declaring an art, art studio [major]," Harrison stated. "I'm going to try to focus on the area of animation. I would like to work at Pixar. I haven't declared yet, but I will be. I'm just kind of taking my time."

When asked if she hoped to dunk this season, Michelle Harrison laughed and said, "I'm working on it! I envision it in my head - the breakaway, rise up... If that moment comes, I will be ecstatic, and if it is there, I will definitely give it a shot!"

Keep your eyes peeled for those breakaway opportunities, Cardinal fans.

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