Harley Hansen: Culture Builder

Harley Hansen arrived via transfer to a three-win Southern Utah Women’s Basketball team before the 2018-19 season. Hansen has contributed greatly to the beginning of a long-term rebuild in Cedar City.

“Harley has been a huge asset to our program and the culture we want to build here at [SUU],” said head coach Tracy Sanders. “She may be our only player that hasn’t missed a practice or a game this entire season [and] I think her teammates really respect her for that.”

Hansen was a 2-time Snow College MVP prior to joining the Thunderbirds and her success has continued at the Division I level. She leads the team in scoring at 12.3 PPG and has collected a team-high 50 steals.

Although she’s excelled, the transition from junior college to D1 isn’t always easy.

“It’s faster paced and everyone’s good so it’s a lot more physical and tough,” Hansen said.

Her statistics don’t reflect any issues adjusting to the new competition. She has made 70 free throws en route to a team leading 75.3% from the foul line. Hansen has reeled in 84 rebounds to earn the third highest total on the team. Her 28 made three-pointers is second on the team.

Consistency might be Hansen’s biggest strength. She has scored double-digits in 15 of SUU’s 22 games. Putting up such numbers on a game-to-game basis involves a lot of mental preparation.

“I just try to stay focused before each game and know my role on the team,” said Hansen.

Hansen recreates a number of superstitious pre-game rituals to help hone in her focus. Braiding her hair on the side and jamming out to some 80s hard rock before games are a couple of the tools she uses to get ready to compete.

Hansen’s top performance came at home on Jan. 5 in an overtime victory against rival Weber State. She scored a season-high 28 points, shooting 8 for 13 from the field and 2 for 4 from behind the arc. Growing up in Ogden, the game had added significance for Harley.

“I had family who played [at Weber State] so I really wanted to play well against them.”

Hansen’s effort this season has not gone unnoticed.

“Harley is one of our hardest workers,”  Sanders said. “She’s extremely coachable and always tries to do what we ask of her.”

With only three home games left this season, time is running out to go support Harley Hansen and the rest of the women’s basketball team. The T-Birds will play at the America First Event Center on Feb. 16 as well as March 2 and 4. All games will be streamed on Pluto TV.

Story by: Aaron Peterson for SUU News
Photo courtesy of SUU Athletics Strategic Communication