Kennedy establishes post presence for Lady Eagles
Monday, March 10, 2008
By Sarah Gogarty
In games against Wayland Baptist University and Roger State University, sophomore Brittney Kennedy drove the Lady Eagle basketball team to victory, setting her career high in scoring each game.
Kennedy has enjoyed breaking her scoring record, but she realizes that it is not just her on the court. She still counts on her teammates for success.
"It feels good," Kennedy said. "I know my team is there for me. It's not just me doing it."
Freshman guard Jordan Williams has noticed a change in Kennedy's game over the season. The changes Kennedy has made are giving her an extra boost and improving her game.
"She has become more aggressive in the post," Williams said. "These past five or six games she has been looking to score in the post more and it has paid off."
With Kennedy improving her game in the post, she has pulled more attention on her and opened up other opportunities for the rest of the team.
"Earlier in the season we didn't have very much scoring coming from our post positions," Williams said. "Since she has become a threat in the post teams must honor her, which gives our guards open looks at 3-pointers."
For sophomore teammate Traci Murphree, Kennedy is someone she can count on. Murphree can see that Kennedy's growth as a player has also influenced the team as a whole.
"I feel as a guard that I can give her the ball, and she'll make something happen," Murphree said. "She's shown us that it is possible to be a in a 'slump' and overcome it.
How well a player is doing is connected to the confidence they are going to show on the court. Women's basketball coach Stephanie Findley said she believes the more confident a player is the fewer mistakes they are going to make, and in the end they are a greater inspiration for their team.
Murphree believes a player who is more confident, whether they mess up or not, will keep trying. They take second opportunities and don't give up.
"I think Brittney's confidence is at a high confidence point and it in return has made her a better player," Murphree said.
With the struggles of a younger team, this season has brought differences to what Kennedy enjoys, but the friendships have really brought the team together.
"We are a young team, and it is a new year for us," Kennedy said. "We don't have that All-American averaging 30 points. The friends, the girls this season, are what I really like."
Friendships bring players closer together in practice and in games The season can get tough on the court, but Kennedy's personality still shines through.
"On the court the way she interacts with us is by being a very positive person. She is very encouraging," Williams said. "When it comes to practice time, we all realize that we are supposed to be making each other better so going hard in practice is never taken personally."
Kennedy not only enjoys playing basketball because of her teammates. She has one real reason she has continued to play since she was in second grade.
Her true inspiration comes from her father. Kennedy has seen him go through so much that his persistence influences her to keep going. Though he has been through hard times, her father has been there for her.
"He was always there to support me even though sometimes it wasn't the best support, he was always there." Kennedy said. "Like after games that went bad, he would give me the little pep talks for what I needed."
Kennedy has grown through her experience has a player at Oklahoma Christian. She not only has improved her game, but also her life.
"I think my post game has improved a lot and my shot is a little better," Kennedy said. "But a lot of it is mental. I go out there and shoot before the games, it's kind of like me and God do our own talking; I just talk through my head and see the shots in the game."
Kennedy's teammates, Kailan DeCamp and Lindsey Gipson, earned Sooner Athletic Conference honors for their play this season.
DeCamp, a sophomore, was named to the conference first team and averaged 13.7 points, 3.3 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game.
Gipson, a junior, earned honorable mention honors, averaging 10.9 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. She was also the conference's leading free-throw, shooting 86.5 percent from the charity stripe.