Jillian Harmon: Card Need Her Harmonic Game

Women's Basketball Contributing Correspondent Warren Grimes gives his thoughts on the multifaceted game of Cardinal junior forward Jillian Harmon and the impact of her recent foot injury on the Cardinal.

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got till it's gone?

Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi

In November of 2005, freshman Jillian Harmon played for the first time in a Stanford uniform. In her first game against Long Island University, Harmon was in the starting lineup. She scored 11 points on 5-8 shooting, pulled down 5 rebounds, garnered 5 assists with only a single turnover, blocked 3 shots, and had 2 steals. All that in just 23 minutes on the court! Oh, I almost forgot, Harmon was 50% (1-2) in free throws.

That's it folks – everything about Jillian Harmon's game was captured in her first official game in a Stanford uniform. Looking at Harmon's line for each of the three years (including this year until her injury in the Oregon game), the numbers move up and down as she has been moved back and forth between the perimeter and the post. The real story, however, is the consistency of Harmon's performance. She has been, from first to last, an above average scorer, a great defender, an excellent passer, and a fine rebounder. Here are the numbers that demonstrate this consistency.

Jillian Harmon's Three-Year Record (Thru 2/7/2008)

Frosh .490 .602 .331 .214 .083 .048 .055
Soph .421 .600 .262 .166 .081 .050 .035
Junior .473 .540 .291 .236 .071 .041 .039

This year, Harmon has been asked to play as a post more often, and she does so with aplomb. Her rebounds per minute are notably higher this year than in the two previous years. But Harmon does just about everything for the team, including bringing the ball up the court when the guards are trapped or harassed. Harmon's incredible concentration and focus make her a steadying and consistent force–quite simply, she takes care of the ball and her teammates. The team plays much better when Harmon is out there. Writing about Harmon last year, I wrote what is equally true today:

Harmon is quiet but intense. She's a team leader by example, not by decibels. And make no mistake about it, she's a competitor. Harmon's superb concentration makes her effective throughout the game, and most effective in pivotal moments.

Remember Harmon's quiet but convincing contribution in the Tennessee game in December? Within the first few minutes, Harmon had stuffed a perimeter shot by hot shooting Vol guard Angie Bjorklund and stripped the ball from All-American Candace Parker as she attempted to dribble into the front court. These defensive heroics don't just happen at the beginning of the game. With help from her mates, Harmon held Bjorklund scoreless for the entire game including overtime.

Was it an accident that, without Harmon, Stanford occasionally lost its rhythm, consistency, and defensive intensity as it struggled to beat Oregon State? To be a Final Four contender, Stanford needs Jillian Harmon back. Given the team's thin post rotation, this need is all the more evident. Here's to a rapid recovery and a quick return to Harmony!!!

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