Nov. 2, 2011
One of the greatest scorers in the history of the Alabama High School Athletic Association, Auburn's Courtney Strain is looking to find her place on the Tiger women's basketball team as she enters her sophomore season.
She averaged just 2.5 points per game in 24 appearances as a freshman, but Auburn head coach Nell Fortner looks for her to be a factor in the team's future success.
"Courtney Strain is just a great shooter", said Fortner. "She has one of the quickest releases we have seen in a long time. She is two points or three points waiting to happen and her green light is so bright, it is blinding."
Cheerleading, volleyball, softball, and basketball. Courtney Strain did it all in high school. A former Miss Everything at Woodland High School, Strain's hard work and focus on basketball brought her to The Plains.
"I wanted to try everything", said Strain. "Softball didn't really work out, but I had been playing basketball my whole life and I decided to stick to that."
Strain began playing basketball with her family every Friday night at the age of four. As she grew out of the kiddy basketball goals, so did her skill. She stuck to basketball and ended up playing for the high school's varsity team, coached by her father.
"My family has always been basketball oriented, even though my dad played football for the University of Alabama", said Strain. "When I was younger, it was always `Courtney this', and `Courtney that', but as I got older and learned more about the game, I started hearing my name less and less. There was a little pressure, but it got better, and definitely paid off."
Strain finished high school setting the Alabama state scoring record as a junior as well as becoming a three-time Alabama 2A Player of the Year. But, coming from a smaller school, meant making adjustments when arriving at Auburn.
"It was definitely a challenge", said Strain. "I was the tallest person on the team in high school, and here at Auburn I'm the second or third shortest, so I had to get used to the size and strength of players in the SEC."
Last season and during the summer she made plenty of adjustments and now has a central focus on the court. Shooting the ball.
"In high school I had to do a little bit of everything on the court, but now my job is to shoot the ball", said Strain. "We worked a lot of strength during the offseason, as well as quickness. I think I've improved in both of those categories."
After helping the Tigers advance to the second round of the WNIT as a freshman, her goal for the 2011-12 season became very clear.
"We all share the same goal this season and that's to make it to the NCAA tournament," said Strain. "We fell short a few games last year, which was hard because we hosted the first round of the tournament. We are determined to make it this year."