July 11, 2001

Basketball Player, Math Whiz Named Top Female Scholar-Athlete

July 11, 2001

By Rebecca Ray
Saratoga News

A Saratogan was recently named the West Coast Conference Female Scholar-Athlete for 2001. Annie Garrison, 21, played basketball for Santa Clara University the past four seasons and graduated this year with a 3.77 GPA, with degrees in math and computer science.

"It was kind of a surprise," said Garrison, who played junior varsity and varsity basketball at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino. "It was definitely a nice honor, because there are lot of good scholars and athletes in the conference."

Garrison holds the university record in blocked shots with 211 and was one of the top 20 shot-blockers in the nation this season. The 6-3 forward and center also ranks second on the university's all-time list for field goal percentage--she made 293 out of 540, or 54.3 percent, of her shots.

This year, Garrison, who was team captain for two years, became only the third player in league history to record more than 1,000 points, 700 rebounds and 200 blocks. She also scored in double figures in six games. The conference named her its Player of the Month in January.

Garrison has been a unanimous first team All-Conference pick for the last three years and is a two-time member of the conference All-Academic team. As a sophomore, the conference named her its Defender of the Year.

Recently, the coaches association awarded Garrison and Cara Consuegra of the University of Iowa in Iowa City each a $1,000 scholarship for post-graduate study. Garrison plans to enter a doctorate program in math at the University of Washington in Seattle and then combine her loves for problem-solving and teaching by teaching college math.

But before Garrison pursues her doctorate, she'd like to play professional basketball for a year in Europe. She has applied to play for several European teams, which she hopes to hear from before Aug. 10, the deadline to defer her admission to Washington. If she has no leads by then, she will either keep applying or attend graduate school, she said.

"Annie Garrison is an absolute joy to coach--one of the greatest kids I've ever been involved with in many ways," said Santa Clara head coach Chris Denker. "She's just a quality citizen and individual ... You can never replace a kid like Annie Garrison."

Garrison, who was vice president of the university's math honor society, wrote a computer program that tracked her and her teammates' stats. She has worked summers at SCU's annual girl's basketball camp since she was a freshman and has done volunteer work, helping host basketball clinics at local schools.

Garrison, who was born in Seattle, has played organized basketball since she was a second-grader in Fairfax, Va. Her father, Lou, coached her first team, which was part of a youth league. Her sister, Janey, who is now 20 and plays club basketball at Princeton University in Princeton, N.J., also played for the team.

Garrison played for her first school team when she moved to Saratoga in eighth grade and attended Kennedy Middle School in Cupertino.

Garrison's team at Monta Vista won the De Anza Division title each year she played and the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League crowns in 1996 and 1997. One year, the San Jose Mercury News named Garrison first team All-Area. As a senior, she shared league MVP honors with Kristin Franklin, who played on her team in high school and college.

In high school, Garrison, who took advanced placement and honors classes, was valedictorian for the Class of 1997 and graduated with a non-weighted 4.0 GPA.

Although Garrison earned a full-paid scholarship to Santa Clara, she was not a highly-recruited player, Denker said. But, he added, "she improved and worked extremely hard and made herself the player that she is today, which is a great one."

Although Garrison didn't "out-athleticize" many players, she used her height and long arms to her advantage and constantly worked to improve her skills.