By Michael Kinney
In today’s era of fast paced games, high scores and amazing athletes, it’s become harder and harder to be a standout on the defensive end of the court.
The days of defensive stalwarts like Tamika Catchings, Dennis Rodman, Gary Payton and Sheryl Swoopes seem to be in the rearview mirror at all levels.
However, that is not how Randi Harding sees it. The senior point guard for the Mustang girls’ basketball team is to be a standout on the court when her team doesn’t have the rock. “My defense, it still has to evolve, but it’s getting better,” Harding said.
At 5’6”, Harding wants to be seen as a defensive stopper. Someone Mustang coach Katie Smith can use against almost any offensive standout on opposing teams. This was the case in
This was the case in Mustang’s final game before the Christmas break when Harding had to guard Southmoore’s Zya Vann.
“It doesn’t matter their height. Zya, she was a couple of inches taller than me,” Harding said. “I wanted to show that it doesn’t matter about my height. I can stay in front of them and limit what numbers they have.”
While opposing players may have a height advantage on her, Harding uses her other traits to make up for it.
“Foot speed, for me, personally. I’m a faster person,” Harding said. “So, just staying in front of them and knowing their pull-up. Zya has her pull-up, just keeping her away from that middle area, just knowing the personnel of the person.”
It also takes the right mindset to be able to take on defensive challenges each night they take the court.
“I have to pride myself highly, as one of the better defenders,” Harding said. “And I have to know that it’s my job to stop one of the better players on the other team. And my teammates will pick-up the rest of it.”
Through the team’s first eight games this season Harding was averaging 12.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and one steal.
“The thing I like is that we’ve kind of taken her off the point guard some so that she can execute through The thing I like is that we’ve kind of taken her off the point guard some so that she can execute through the wing position a little bit better, which has really helped our team” Smith said.
With class 6A being filled with high-scoring players, Harding could be busy every night defensively.
Yet, Harding also knows she has to be a force on both ends of the court if the Lady Broncos are going to reach their ultimate goals.
“We have to take a more serious approach because we’re still high up there in the rankings. And we’re going to be playing a good couple of teams, like Edmond North coming up,” Harding said. “So, we just have to keep the intensity and keep our drive up. I think our team could do great. We have a very good, close connection. So, we’re able to talk to each other about more difficult things. So, just relying on each other and holding each other accountable can get us through.”
Michael Kinney Media