Center of Attention

Jan. 18, 2001

By DAVID DUNCH, Ass't Sports Editor
The Santa Clara

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Annie Garrison is good.

That's about the only way to describe the two-time unanimous first-team all-West Coast Conference performer, who is well on her way to a third straight selection and is helping the Broncos to an 11-3 record on the season and 2-0 in conference play. Success is nothing new for Garrison. In fact, it just seems to follow her wherever she goes.

"She's great," Head Coach Chris Denker said. "She always works hard and sets a good example for her teammates. She falls under every positive sports cliche that coaches talk about."

At Monta Vista High in nearby Cupertino, her teams won the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League in both her junior and senior years. As a senior, Garrison was the league's co-MVP with current Bronco teammate Kristin Franklin, averaging 18.6 points per game. She was named first-team all-area by the Mercury News and first-team All-Mid-Peninsula.

After that success, Garrison had some choice as to where she could go for college, including offers from the Pac-10 and the Ivy League. Eventually, though, she settled on Santa Clara. "It was just a combination of things," Garrison said of her choice. "The team, the school, the academics, the people. It all came together and felt right to me."

After a freshman year where she averaged only about 9 minutes a game, Garrison shined as a sophomore, leading the team in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots. In addition to her unanimous first-team selection, she was named the conference's Defender of the Year, thanks in large part to her school-record 55 blocks.

Garrison continued her strong play as a junior, once again leading the team in scoring, rebounding and blocks. Her 11.8 points per game average was 11th in the conference, and she led the league in blocks, was second in field goal percentage and sixth in rebounds. She also became the university's all-time leader in blocked shots with 160.

With a new head coach in her senior year, not much has changed for Garrison. Currently, she's averaging nearly 13 points a game, 8.6 rebounds and is shooting 48 percent from the floor and 77 percent from the free throw line. Just last week, Garrison helped the Broncos get off to a quick start in conference play with 16 points and 18 rebounds against Loyola Marymount and 19 points against Pepperdine, both home wins.

"We're trying to be a strong team this year," Garrison said. "We're all excited. I think we've gotten our injuries out of the way early and we're really looking to get past the first round of the NCAA. Coach Denker is very strategic and a good motivator. We're looking forward to him as a head coach and we all really like him."

In the classroom, Garrison is just as impressive. The Math and Computer Science double major currently carries a 3.74 GPA and is in the process of applying to graduate school. The team captain is nver going to become complacent.

"There's always something to work on," Denker said.

"She needs to step up and be more assertive and be a scorer and rebounder night in and night out. She wants to blend into the team, but sometimes she needs to be more selfish."

Garrison agrees and has her own goals.

"I want to be consistent," she said. "I want to be ready to play every night and we all want to win."