Birdsong finds her groove

Published 9:44 pm Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Harper Birdsong is finding her groove with the College of William & Mary after about two years of seeing no regular season action.

Birdsong and the William & Mary women’s basketball team are currently 7-4. It is a bittersweet feeling for Birdsong, who has finally made her way back to live game action.

Birdsong originally signed to play basketball at George Washington University coming out of Nansemond-Suffolk Academy. After things didn’t turn out how she had hoped, she transferred to William & Mary at the end of the 2016-2017 basketball season.

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Because of her transfer, she had to abide by NCAA rules and sit out a year, though she could practice with her new team. For the whole 2017-2018 season, Birdsong was unable to play in any regular season action. Now her time has been served, and she has immediately jumped back in the thick of things with her new team. She is making the impact so far that she knew she had the potential to make.

Of course, there has been an adjustment period, but the redshirt sophomore feels good about where she is right now.

“I would say it was kind of hard and stressful,” she said of her adjustment. “Particularly at the beginning. I remember my first game back, I didn’t play that well because I was putting too much pressure on myself. But it’s crazy how much more comfortable I feel now. That comfort level definitely didn’t happen overnight.”

Through 11 games, Birdsong started the first four until her coach felt like it was best for her to come off of the bench. They knew the scoring she could add in that role could significantly help the team.

She is currently second on the team in scoring with 11 points per game but leads the team in three-point shooting with 24 made three-pointers — 10 more than the next person. She also has a three-point percentage of 44. Birdsong is known for her shooting and scoring ability.

“I think I am getting better each game,” she said. “I actually like the sixth-man role that I’m in because I can get a spark off of the bench offensively.”

The Suffolk native didn’t really set any goals for herself this season; she was just happy to be back on the court and be able to compete. The Tribe is continuing to build its chemistry as a young team, but Birdsong is happy with the start they have.

“I feel like we are continuing to get better,” she said. “We are a young team, so it’s taken us some time to get used to playing with each other, but now I feel like the chemistry is there.”

At Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, Birdsong was a three-time Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association State Player of the Year and first team All-State. She scored more than 2,000 points in her career and was widely regarded as one of the top recruits in Virginia.