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Chicago Sun Times
Chicago Sun-Times
25 Mar 2023

NextImg:Sky’s Isabelle Harrison views 2023 season as a reintroduction

Isabelle Harrison is confident about the position she’s in. 

The Sky’s new forward is finishing up her second Athletes Unlimited season and has a comfortable grip on the fourth spot on the leaderboard. The speed of her arrival to this place in her career is a bit shocking to the eight-year WNBA veteran. 

“It sneaks up on you so fast,” Harrison told the Sun-Times. “I don’t know where the time goes. I’m just thankful for what I’ve learned in what feels like a short amount of time, but it hasn’t been.” 

Harrison, 29, feels like a completely different player than the one who spent one season under legendary coach Pat Summitt at Tennessee. 

It makes sense considering the trajectory of her career. She’s eight years into her professional career but has played only six seasons in the WNBA. She tore her anterior cruciate ligament months before being drafted by the Phoenix Mercury with the 12th overall pick in 2015, sidelining her for her rookie season. In 2018, she took a leave of absence from her Las Vegas Aces team because of personal medical reasons and sat out the entire season. 

After spending the last four seasons with the Dallas Wings, Harrison signed with the Sky as an unrestricted free agent. Her second season with Athletes Unlimited is preparing her not just for the upcoming season with her new team but a new role she could see herself in once her days on the court are done. 

In her first season with AU, Harrison spent four out of the five weeks as one of four captains, meaning she had the responsibility of drafting her team those four weeks. This year, she has spent two out of the five weeks in the same role. 

“I would love to be a general manager for any sports team, specifically basketball,” Harrison said. “Even in the WNBA one day. AU has given me a new outlook on basketball. I never thought I would be doing half of the stuff I’m doing.” 

Last season in the WNBA, Harrison found herself in an unfamiliar position. This time, though, it wasn’t necessarily welcomed. 

Harrison’s minutes took a hit when former Wings coach Vickie Johnson moved her out of the starting rotation midway through the season in favor of Teaira McCowan. 

After being underused — Harrison averaged 6.6 points in 12.5 minutes in her last 15 regular-season games in 2022 — she approached AU as an opportunity to reset ahead of her first season with the Sky. 

“This season with AU was personal for me,” Harrison said. “I wanted to make sure I bounced back because I know the type of player that I am. I know I’m able to contribute to any team I play on. Even during free agency, I had coaches telling me that.” 

The Sky’s exodus of frontcourt players opened up a slew of possibilities for Harrison in Chicago, something she and coach/GM James Wade spoke about in free agency. 

Her exact role wasn’t necessarily solidified, but the potential to start and provide meaningful minutes was what sold Harrison on the Sky. 

“For me, it’s proving the point of who I am,” Harrison said. “Personally, I felt like having Chicago, me headed there with the players we have now, it’s going to be a good opportunity to — I hate to say it — revamp myself. Also to just get ample playing time to show everybody what’s going on.”