By Corbin McGuire
Angela Harris is used to changing roles. At this point she’s like a chameleon, successfully blending into whatever environment she’s part of. Or, asked to be part of.
A graduate transfer from Houston, Harris expected to be predominantly a facilitator coming into this season with K-State women’s basketball. With First Team All-Big 12 forward Peyton Williams and sharpshooter Rachel Ranke back, along with adding a promising center in Ayoka Lee, Harris knew scoring simply was not a top priority for her role.
Then, Ranke underwent season-ending surgery in December. All of a sudden, K-State was without one of its four players averaging 10 or more points this season. Harris’ role quickly changed — it had to. The graduate transfer was asked to score more, and she’s fulfilled that request.
In K-State’s last three games, Harris has averaged 11.7 points on 47 percent shooting while recording 4.7 assists. She posted 16- and 17-point performances in her first two Big 12 games. Her season scoring average sits at 9.7 going into a home battle with Oklahoma State (10-5, 1-2) on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.
“It’s definitely hard,” Harris said of changing roles mid-season, “but it’s not something I’m not used to.”
Harris said her experience in adapting to different roles dates back to her high school days in Cypress, Texas, a Houston suburb. The 5-foot-6 guard said no one year was the same for her.
Her first two seasons, Harris said she played with some dominant posts and served as more of a facilitator. Even then, there was a jump in how much facilitating she did between the two seasons. After one of those talented posts transferred before Harris’ junior season, her role changed again.
“Right there before our first game our coach was, like, ‘I need you to score points.’ I went from being the facilitator to being the leading scorer those last two years,” she said. “The same thing at Houston. My role changed every year.”
Harris, in three seasons at Houston, went from being a bench sparkplug to the team’s go-to scorer as a sophomore (14.9 points per game). She graduated in three years and finished as only the fourth player in program history to record 1,000 or more points, 200 or more rebounds, assists and steals in a career. She, as the numbers show, did a little bit of everything.
“So, this year is no different,” Harris said. “I was looked at as more of a facilitator coming in and injuries happen. Now, I had to change my game again. It’s not something I’m not used to. I’ve definitely done it before throughout my career.”
Harris said these experiences helped her handle a few sit-down meetings with K-State’s coaching staff after Ranke’s surgery. She knew exactly how to respond.
“Coach (Jeff) Mittie talked to me a little bit and Coach Hal (Ebony Haliburton) and Coach (Chris) Carr. They all talked to me about it, and I was just, like, ‘OK. Tell me what and I’ll do it.’ Because it’s not something I couldn’t do,” Harris said. “Back at Houston I scored 1,000 points in three years, so it’s not like I wasn’t a scorer. It’s just that we had so much talent with everybody healthy that it wasn’t necessarily needed for me to score 15, because we had other people that could do that, and I could be a facilitator for those people and set them up. But injuries happen and my scoring was needed.”
Her scoring helped K-State to its sixth-straight Big 12 road win last Saturday, as the Wildcats topped Texas Tech, 76-72. Harris scored eight of her 17 points in the fourth quarter of the win, highlighted by a personal 6-0 run to stave off the Lady Raiders.
“I think she’s playing as good as she’s played all year,” Mittie said, “within what we’re asking her to do.”
Source: Kansas State Sports