TERRE HAUTE —
Brittney Shaner doesn’t remember much about visiting Terre Haute a few years ago when her Center Grove High School girls basketball team would face Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference foes Terre Haute North or Terre Haute South.
But she did say she enjoyed going to the Dairy Queen on Davis Avenue. That and, more importantly, her appreciation of the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College campus in western Vigo County led her to become a Pomeroy in the late summer of 2009.
Since then, she has played almost four full seasons for coach Deanna Bradley’s basketball squad and racked up 1,767 points to become the college’s all-time leading scorer. In late December, the 5-foot-10 senior guard from Greenwood passed 2002 Woods graduate Brooke Griffith (now Brooke Griffith-Langford), who owned the previous top spot with 1,695.
Averaging 20.8 points per contest this season, Shaner isn’t sure how much basketball she has left to give the Pomeroys in their final few games. During a 111-91 loss at Lindenwood-Belleville on Friday, she left the court with a knee injury. As of this writing, she did not know the results of tests performed on her knee.
Shaner admitted she’s likely to miss this Friday’s game at Oakland City. SMWC (5-12) could certainly use her services, especially considering Bradley ranks her among the top five players to ever go through The Woods’ program.
“She’d be in the top five,” noted Bradley, who’s in her 19th season as coach. “She’d definitely be in the top five because she does both ends of the floor. She’s one of our top defenders as well as our main offensive threat. And she actually just set the [school] record for steals [in a career].
“She also ranks up there because of her attitude. With her, it’s all about the team. It’s not about her individual accolades. It’s about what ever she needs to do for the team to succeed. That is what she strives for.
“She’s also a motivator. She doesn’t want anybody to be left behind. She doesn’t want anybody to feel left out. So she’s constantly encouraging. That’s why she has so much respect among her teammates.”
Prior to Shaner’s injury Friday, the sharpshooter thought the team had been playing better of late. The Pomeroys exploded for 104 points in a 104-91 victory over UC-Clermont on Jan. 5.
In that “home” matchup — played inside Clinton’s Community Recreation Center (the old Clinton High School gym) — Shaner pumped in 26 points with the help of 11-for-17 marksmanship from the field. She also dished out a team-high nine assists and grabbed a team-high five steals.
“We didn’t really play as a team at the beginning of the season,” Shaner assessed before Friday’s game. “But now we’re coming together better and doing the little things that matter. We’re getting more fundamentally sound with rebounding.”
As for breaking the school points record, Shaner shrugged it off as if it’s not that big of a deal.
“I’m not out to break any records,” she told the Tribune-Star. “I’m just out to help my team win and do the best that we can do.”
Bradley believes Shaner — because of her all-around skills — could have played at the NCAA Division II level if she wanted to.
Shaner also could have received more recognition for her basketball talents had she played somewhere else.
Think about it. She plays for a small private school with its home games in Clinton (for the eighth straight season) — not exactly the ideal situation for drawing crowds or attention.
“It is unfortunate that more people have not had the chance to see her play,” Bradley said. “There’s nothing flashy about her. She just does the job that needs to be done.
“And it’s not unusual for people not to come out here [to watch games]. We can’t even get our staff, faculty and students out here. It’s 20 minutes from campus and it’s a little bit further from Terre Haute. It is a little bit of a ‘out here on our own’ kind of thing. But we’ve been used to it and we’ve adjusted to it.”
“Actually, it doesn’t bother me at all,” Shaner insisted. “I don’t need recognition. I came here to play basketball and that’s what I’m doing.”
A pre-professional major, Shaner quickly added that she also is in college to obtain an education so she can become a physical therapist. She’s applied for graduate school this fall at a few different universities and the list will likely include Indiana State by the time she’s finished applying.
When Shaner graduates in May, she’s positive she’ll have zero regrets about the decision she made in December 2008 to attend Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
“I wanted to go pretty close to home,” she recalled. “I didn’t want to travel nine or 10 hours to another school. My parents get to come to every game. Between the two of them, they’ve only missed one game in my four years here.”
Shaner and Whitney Allen are the only two seniors to graduate after this season, so Bradley will continue her search for more offensive firepower this spring and summer.
“We’ll be losing about 30 points a game and that’s not easy to replace,” the veteran coach mentioned.