Sports, Women's Basketball

Rising star Tori Harris transfers to The Beach

Tori Harris played her first home game on Nov. 12. With the new addition of her shooting range, she helped lead the women’s basketball team to a win.

Her teammates would repeatedly raise their fingers up as she attempted a three-pointer. She made three out of six attempted shots during the game.

11/12/2022 - Long Beach, Calif: Long Beach State women's basketball player, Tori Harris (#12), shoots the second of two free throws during the regular season opener against La Sierra.
11/12/2022 - Long Beach, Calif: Long Beach State women's basketball player, Tori Harris (#12), shoots the second of two free throws during the regular season opener against La Sierra. Photo credit: Naoki Gima

Long Beach State won against La Sierra 76-34. La Sierra was visibly frantic beside the natural chemistry of The Beach, who had already begun to mesh with their newly transferred teammate.

Harris had six rebounds and three assists in the span of 22 minutes on the court. The home debut stats were promising for the new player who just graduated from St. Bonaventure University.

She played two seasons and averaged 31.3 minutes per game and made 86 three-pointers.

Harris has known basketball all her life. She remembers the times her mom would get her ready to travel with her brothers for tournaments while her dad coached on the sidelines.

“It was crazy chaotic,” she said. “Just every weekend I remember my mom like, pack your bag of coloring books and toys.”

11/12/2022 - Long Beach, Calif: Long Beach State women's basketball player, Tori Harris (#12), lines up at the free throw line to shoot two free throws against La Sierra inside the Walter Pyramid.
11/12/2022 - Long Beach, Calif: Long Beach State women's basketball player, Tori Harris (#12), lines up at the free throw line to shoot two free throws against La Sierra inside the Walter Pyramid. Photo credit: Naoki Gima

Her family has also known basketball. Harris’s brother Tobias has played in the NBA since 2011 and is currently on the Philadelphia 76ers. Their father also played collegiate basketball before coaching them in their youth.

Before playing basketball she did dance, but eventually took notice of her siblings and their love for basketball. That’s when she decided to try it out for herself.

“I remember once I started basketball, I fully stopped going to dance and then kind of dedicated all my time into basketball,” she said.

She was inspired by her oldest sister, Tesia.

“I saw her play and I was like she’s a girl and I’m a girl, I want to play like her,” Harris said. “It was just kind of natural. I wanted to do what she was doing.”

Growing up with a family invested in basketball, she’s grown accustomed to the after game debrief in her family group chat.

“After a game, I can come back to my family group message chat of a hundred messages of them talking to each other about the games,” she said.

Since graduating from St. Bonaventure University with a degree in sports media in 2022, she transferred too Long Beach State to finish her master’s in sports management.

Harris also played at James Madison University during her freshman and sophomore year. She made her collegiate debut in 2017.

Tori Harris facing defense against La Sierra. Long Beach won 76-34.
Tori Harris facing defense against La Sierra. Photo credit: John Fajardo/ LBSU athletics

“She’s a woman of integrity and character,” Jeff Cammon, Long Beach State head coach of the women’s basketball team, said. “She has amazing spirit. She is a kind, caring, loving spirit.”

Cammon believes Harris can be an integral piece of the team this season and is confident that she is the right fit in the program that is looking to improve.

“She’s in a really great environment and around really great people. I think she feels at home here,” Cammon said.

Her game still has another level to be reached, something that Cammon hopes to be able to unleash.

Since her debut, Harris has continued to grow into her role with the team. She currently averages the third most points for the team and finds herself on the floor the longest of any player besides senior guard Malia Bambrick.

“Tori shoots the ball really well, she puts a lot of pressure on defenses with her shooting,” Cammon said. “She’s so talented she hasn’t hit that ceiling, that potential.”

With expected growth still to be found in Harris’ career as a student athlete, she also feels that there’s room for more growth within the game of basketball.

Tori Harris takes the ball down the court at the Walter Pyramid on Sat. Nov. 10.
Tori Harris takes the ball down the court at the Walter Pyramid on Sat. Nov. 10. Photo credit: John Fajardo/ LBSU athletics

“I know people on the team said our fan section is empty all the time,” she said. “I’m hoping we get more fans in the stands this year.”

Even though Harris isn’t competing under the WNBA, the lack of popularity of women basketball has shown in the stands of the Walter Pyramid.

She believes that the people who don’t come to their games are missing out.

“I feel like here at Long Beach we’re a really talented team and I think we play so fast and energetic,” she said. “I think we’re really talented so it’s not like, you know, I’m telling you to come to a bad game.”

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