Katie Campbell didn’t get the opportunity to close out her collegiate career on her terms. While the season ended abruptly for college basketball athletes across the country on March 12, Campbell was confronted with that unexpected and bitter reality six weeks earlier after an ACL injury ended her campaign.
No one envisions the end of their college career spent on a trainer’s table. That’s not the ending that drives an athlete to go to the gym early in the morning for a workout, or go back in the wee hours of the night to get shots up. While Campbell didn’t get the ending she would have chosen for herself, she should be able to look back on her time at Gonzaga with pride.
Initially committed to Washington State out of high school, Campbell’s basketball journey eventually brought her to the right school in Washington. A southpaw with range from anywhere on the floor and the defensive chops to lock up an opposing wing, Campbell proved to be a valuable addition to Gonzaga after her second recruitment following an impressive season at Ventura College in Southern California.
As a junior, she seized a spot in the starting lineup with a strong performance in the upset win over Stanford when Lisa Fortier needed her to fill in for an injured Jessie Loera. Since then, she has been an indispensable figure in the rotation while shooting a prolific 44% from the three-point line over her two seasons as a starter.
Campbell consistently provided leadership, balance, and defensive tenacity to the lineup, and played a big part in Gonzaga’s success this season which led to the program’s highest ever ranking in the AP Poll. After her injury against BYU on February 1, her absence on the court was felt keenly both by her teammates and fans in the ensuing weeks, leading to a bittersweet farewell on Senior Night.
Life’s curveballs taught Campbell how to adapt, and still thrive, earlier than most. As a college student she somehow balanced raising a daughter, excelling in her coursework (Academic All-WCC as a psychology major), and starring on the basketball court for one of the top programs in the nation with a grace and consistency that is wildly impressive. Doing just one of those things well is challenging. All three? Get out of here. Frankly, I’m not sure how she did it, but she is welcome to be my life coach whenever she wants.
The storybook ending is elusive, but Campbell is only in the early chapters of her own story. Basketball at Gonzaga might be in the rearview mirror, but the road ahead will have even greater success in store for her. We at Slipper Still Fits wish her all the best.