When her former Phoenix Mercury teammates invade the AT&T Center on Friday night, San Antonio center Isabelle Harrison will take the floor dressed in a Stars uniform with no chip on her shoulder.
In January, Harrison was shipped to San Antonio in a two-way swap with Phoenix – where she had spent her first two WNBA seasons – in exchange for embattled guard Danielle Robinson.
Harrison, a University of Tennessee phenom, routinely posted double-doubles as a Vol during her senior season in 2014-15 before an ACL tear prematurely brought her college career to a grinding halt.
After sitting out a season to recover from that injury, Harrison averaged 3.1 points and 1.8 rebounds in only 7.5 minutes in her lone season on the court in Phoenix. Still, the trade was something the 23-year-old never saw coming after she was selected as the Mercury’s 12th overall pick in the WNBA draft.
She could have easily viewed it as a setback, but fortunately she remained positive and has used it as motivation entering her first season in San Antonio. During her stint in Phoenix, Harrison soaked up everything that Olympians Diana Taurasi and Britney Griner tried to teach her and remains grateful for the opportunity to play alongside two of the league’s marquee players.
“I learned a lot in Phoenix because they have great veteran leadership,” Harrison said. “I will always be grateful for what those two did for me while I was there in Phoenix. Watching the way they worked and handled themselves as professionals was a blessing.”
“Leaving an organization that has so many proven vets and experience was difficult, but I am definitely excited to be a part of an organization like San Antonio that has a lot of exciting, new young players. The potential on this team is amazing and I am excited to be a part of it all.”
Harrison recalls how Griner would remain after practice to tutor her on post moves, while Taurasi instilled in her the advantages of making the weight room a priority. As a result, when she became healthy again, Harrison preceded to score 10.5 points per game in Poland during the offseason while shooting better than 54.7 percent from the field.
Then, a few days after her overseas team wrapped up, she hit the ground running after only three days in San Antonio.
Harrison scored a team-high 22 points and snatched seven boards in a preseason loss to Los Angeles after only two practices, and then a week later would score 15 points in the Stars’ season-opening loss to New York.
“Harrison has been a great fit for us because she is really aggressive on defense and her mindset is always trying to get better,” San Antonio coach Vickie Johnson said. “She has overcome a lot and I think she is slowly starting to get back into the form that she was when she got drafted.”
Although she will be on the other sideline tonight in the first meeting of the year between the two teams, Harrison feels as though she left the Mercury organization on good terms, so the match-up will be anything but a revenge game.
“I have nothing but positive things to say about the Phoenix organization so there won’t be any bad blood or anything,” Harrison said. “I will be excited to see all of my old teammates but I am sure they would agree that it will all business when the game starts.”