The rectangle that is the paint is another geometric pattern on the court. Far less charming than the three-point arc, it is a pattern where hard work, positioning, and an eye for the basketball are paramount.
It is that rectangle where DePaul’s Katherine Harry has plied her trade in the Big East for the past four years, something she has done better than most.
Harry’s introduction to what would become her territory started with a dress rehearsal for an eighth grade play.
That play was the same night that an informational meeting was taking place at Rock Bridge High School in Missouri, where Harry would eventually enroll. And it was that night that Harry met the first-year varsity coach at Rock Bridge, Jill Nagel. At 6’1” and skinny, basketball was a steep learning curve for Harry.
“I didn’t know a lick about posting up,” said Harry. “I didn’t know a lot about the game. My mom coached me in grades six through eight, so she taught me a lot of things, but there was still so much more to learn. Coach Nagel taught me how to learn, and that helped not only on the basketball court but off it as well.”
But as in the paint, where a player never stops trying to gain better position, Harry started at Rock Bridge under Nagel to learn to be a better Harry.
“Katherine was constantly working to be a better version of herself every day,” said Nagel. “Her junior year, thanks in large part to advanced strength training taught by our football coach and ex-NFL player, she became serious about lifting weights and forming her body.”
And while all of that training eventually led to career statistics for Harry at Rock Bridge of 11.9 ppg, 8.1 rebounds per game and 2.1 blocks per game, and to the school’s first state title in girls basketball in Harry’s senior year in 2009, a strong foundation was being built.
“We constantly talk with our kids about the mental aspect of rebounding,” said Nagel. “We teach them about recognizing where the shot originates, the importance of a quick first step, beating their opponent to the spot and then physically making contact.”
Harry talks about how she got from there to here.
“I thought I had a pretty good understanding of all of that, and then I got to DePaul and realized it was a whole different beast in college. I thought you could take your eyes off the ball and just get your player, and that was enough in high school, especially when you are my size (6’3”).
But under the coaching of the DePaul staff, including post player coach Bart Brooks, Harry finally started to understand how to rebound against the likes of Connecticut’s Tina Charles and the Ogwumike sisters from Stanford.
“At DePaul I had to learn a lot about seeing both my man and the ball, seeing when the shot releases and when to release to the ball. It’s obviously important to get a body on someone and keep them off the glass, but you have to see with your eyes. And doing that has taken my rebounding to a whole other level.”
1,000-plus rebounds later, including a McGrath-Phillips Arena record of 20 rebounds in a win versus No. 12 Louisville in January, 2012, she reached the here.
The rebounding mechanics taught to her by Nagel and furthered by the DePaul staff has also carried over to blocked shots.
“A lot of blocking shots is timing,” said Harry. “I like to help and knowing when they are going up with the ball, and again, reading with your eyes.”
167 blocked shots later, she reached the here.
Harry’s statistics at DePaul are impressive.
She was a unanimous selection to the Big East All-Freshman Team, and she was the only freshman in the Big East to be ranked in the top 10 in rebounding. In her sophomore year she ranked fifth in the Big East with 1.7 blocks per game. Her 322 rebounds in her junior year ranks ninth in DePaul’s single season record book.
But for all of those statistics, there is this one:
Harry is the only player in DePaul women’s basketball history to amass at least 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 150 blocked shots in a career.
Her road from Rock Bridge to that statistic had a few side stops.
In June of 2008, Harry traveled to Waco, Texas to participate in a Baylor University Elite Camp. That experience helped Harry to see what life would be like in the Big East.
“Britney Griner was there, and Rachel Allison was Baylor’s star post player at that time,” said Harry. “It was good to learn their philosophies and their style of play. The camp really opened my eyes as to how it would be like playing in college.”
Harry also attended the women’s collegiate Final Four in St. Louis her senior year in high school.
“I recall it was Stanford, Oklahoma, Connecticut and Louisville,” said Harry. “I remember watching those games, and I liked the way Jayne Appel from Stanford played, but there were such different styles with the post players such as Angel McCoughtry from Louisville and Tina Charles from Connecticut.”
And despite watching some of the best post players in the country at the Final Four, Harry is her own player.
“There are a lot of people to take different aspects from, but I don’t model myself after one person. You have to be who you are, and for me that is being a solid rebounder and being solid in the paint, making that extra pass and being that team player.”
Harry has led the Big East in rebounding in her junior year and senior year, but there is no self-congratulating in her play.
“It’s no personal satisfaction to grab a rebound and start a fast break,” said Harry. “I am just trying to help our team out in any way that I can. If that is getting a rebound and getting it to our guards, yes, that did start with me, but that is our team working together.”
And while Harry gets her work done in the rectangle, even she is not immune to the lure of the arc.
She is 3-14 at DePaul from behind the three-point line.