Thompson tearing up the league

- January 30, 2015

Dalhousie Tigers - Courtney Thompson
Dalhousie Tigers - Courtney Thompson

In case you haven't heard, Courtney Thompson is on an absolute tear this season on the women's basketball team. The fifth-year point guard is leading the AUS in scoring with 21.7 points per game. In fact, she's currently ranked second in the entire country. Since the 2006-2007 season (as far back as individual records go), only three players have finished with a higher scoring rate than Thompson.

Her individual success has helped the Tigers jump out to a 8-4 record in the AUS this season, as they trail only the 11-1 Saint Mary's Huskies midway through the season.

The Saint John, NB native started playing basketball when she was only five years old. She developed a passion for the game and played on numerous rep teams as she grew up. She started playing varsity for Simonds High School, and she was a regular on New Brunswick's provincial teams as well.

Her high school team struggled at times as they often lacked numbers due to a lack of interest in women's basketball. Despite this, Anna Stammberger saw a promising prospect in a young Thompson.

“Right away I liked her athleticism, along with her ability to pass and score,” explains head coach Anna Stammberger. “She had an especially soft touch and finishing ability around the hoop and in traffic. Coming from a weaker high school team, she often dropped 30 points a game, so we knew she could put the ball in the basket.”

Joining the Tigers

When it came time to choose schools, Thompson was a highly sought-after prospect, with many schools interested in her. In the end, she chose to select the black and gold.

“What really stood out for Dal was the coach, who was very welcoming.” says Thompson. “Dal seemed like a great community. It also gave me a chance to get out of New Brunswick, while still not being too far away from home.”

Academics were also important, and she also says that Dalhousie's bachelor of commerce co-op program was a big factor when it came to choosing schools. The fifth-year accounting major has completed co-op terms with Dalhousie, TD Bank and Irving Oil.

Thompson hit the ground running in her first season with the Tigers, starting all 20 games and finishing first on the team in scoring and assists. The Tigers struggled mightily that season as they finished with a 5-15 record, though Thompson ended up being named to the AUS all-rookie team. Current teammate Kristy Moore, who was then a member of the Acadia Axewomen, was also named to the team.

This was all a surprise for Thompson, who expected to spend most of her rookie season on the bench.

Fast forward to today, and Thompson has been one of the Tigers best players in all of her five seasons with the Tigers. Last year, she was named an AUS second team all-star after finishing third in the league in both points and assists per game. She also led the CIS in free throw shooting percentage with 94.2%.

Head coach Anna Stammberger can't say enough about her veteran point guard.

“Courtney is one of the best guards in the AUS and probably the most consistent performer in the conference,” notes Stammberger. “Having such a strong and knowledgeable senior point guard leading us on the court like she does is almost like having an extra player out there. Also the consistency of her having been in that role for the past five years has been an advantage for us coaches as well as her teammates.”

Building a team effort

Despite her individual accomplishments, Thompson is probably one of the least arrogant people you'll ever meet. In fact, she even sees herself as quiet.

“Most people wouldn't think I'm shy, because of the way I play on the court,” laughs Thompson.

And when it comes to individual records and accolades, they pale in comparison and importance when it comes to team success.

“It's doesn't really factor in for me,” explains Thompson. “It is what it is. I just go out there and try to play the same every single game.”

The Tigers stand at 8-4 with eight games left in the season. They've won four of their last six and they look poised to make a deep run in the playoffs, where they could look to win their first AUS championship since 2001. Thompson says that this year's team, bolstered by more depth and skill throughout the roster, is the best Tigers team that she's every played for. She says that every single player knows their role and has bought in to the Tigers team success, and that their ultimate end goal is winning the AUS championship.

“To win the AUS, we're going to have to be very defensive and team-oriented” says Thompson. “When you play as a team, it makes your defence even better. You're more connected and you trust each other.”

After graduation, Thompson says she is looking to secure a job in the accounting field in her hometown of Saint John, New Brunswick. She also looks forward to giving back to her community and she hopes to coach basketball back at her old high school.

At this point in the season, it'd be hard to argue that anyone in the AUS is more deserving of the MVP award than Thompson. She's established herself as one of the very best players in the league, and she could very well find herself in the discussion when the awards are handed out at the end of the season.

Catch Thompson and the rest of the Tigers when they square off against the Acadia Axewomen at 6 p.m. next Tuesday at the Dalplex.


All comments require a name and email address. You may also choose to log-in using your preferred social network or register with Disqus, the software we use for our commenting system. Join the conversation, but keep it clean, stay on the topic and be brief. Read comments policy.

comments powered by Disqus