CHARLOTTE, N.C. (BigSouthSports.com) - The Big South Conference, in conjunction with Collegiate Partner Musco Sports Lighting, continues its monthly "Musco Women's Spotlight" feature. This month's spotlight is High Point senior women's basketball forward Shamia Brown (Raeford, N.C.).
Brown and her teammates currently lead the Big South Conference with a 5-0 record in Conference play and are 10-6 overall. The Preseason All-Conference pick is averaging 15.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and a 47.5 field goal percentage in 544 minutes played. Brown discusses her reflections on the Panthers' new coaching staff, her role as the lone senior, and her leadership position on the team.
Shamia Brown's first three years as part of the High Point University women's basketball team were the model of consistency as the forward averaged between 10.3 and 12.6 points and 5.3 to 5.9 rebounds per game to help lead the Panthers. It was also consistent off the floor as Brown played for the same coach and with the same core of players each season.
All of that changed heading into Brown's senior season as the High Point women's basketball program welcomed its first new coach in 10 seasons and also saw the departure of a five-player senior class that comprised half of High Point's top 10 Division I career scorers. With so much change happening around her, Brown was called upon to step up as the lone senior on the team to help lead her squad through the transition.
"When I heard that there was going to be a coaching change I knew we would need to be ready for anything," Brown said. "My mindset was to just continue to do what we do well and hopefully the new coaches would come in and help us build on that. I felt that we wanted to have a positive outlook coming into this season. We thought that this would be a good change for us this year and were ready. Everyone took it in stride and got on board with what the new staff wanted to do from day one. It wasn't hard to coax people along because this team really wanted to commit to these new coaches."
Brown has taken her game to another level both on and off the court this season. She leads the team in scoring and is fifth in the Conference with 15.5 points per game. She has also emerged as a vocal leader that has filled the void left by the departure over the past couple seasons of players like Amy Dodd, LaTeisha Dean and Ashlee Samuels.
"Stepping into the role as a team leader this season has gone pretty well," Brown said. "I really feel like my teammates have embraced me as a leader and that I got a lot of support from the coaches. I don't feel like it is just on me, but I do feel that the team looks to me as far as what they should do. I really prefer to lead by example most of the time but I know that if there does come a time that I need to say something, I am not afraid to do so. Playing under such strong leaders has helped me be more outgoing and a stronger leader myself."
In her final season at High Point, Brown has helped guide the Panthers to a 9-6 overall record and 5-0 start in Big South play, HPU's best start to Conference play since her freshman season in 2008-09. The Panthers also made an early statement with a road win over Liberty, the preseason pick to win the Conference. It was HPU's first win at the Vines Center since 2007.
"In my first meeting with the team I told them I wanted to win a Big South Championship this year because it would not be fair that one of the best players to wear our uniform not get that chance," said new head coach Jennifer Hoover. "From day one Shamia has taken ownership of the fact that she is the lone senior. This year we have seen her come out as the vocal leader of the team and set the tone emotionally. She is such a competitive kid that plays hard all the time and is really flourishing this season."
With just two months remaining in the 2011-12 basketball season, Brown sees the end of her time at High Point fast approaching, but the senior believes it is just the beginning of bigger things to come.
"I feel that my time as a leader with the basketball team will help me a great deal once I leave High Point University," Brown said. "The coaches have stressed that we need to not only be leaders on the court but off it as well. Being a good student and a good member of the community is very important to us and I believe that will carry over into the rest of my life."
Written by Joe Arancio of High Point's Athletic Communications office
READ THE PREVIOUS "MUSCO WOMEN'S SPOTLIGHTS"
Lisa Lubke, Radford
Jennifer Klugh, Liberty
Becca Toor, Winthrop
Lauren Garza, Campbell