Lyn Midcap / Staff Writer
Taylor Brown leads the Atlantic 10 in points per game this season, making school history on her way there.
The junior guard from Bowie, Md. is only the 18th player in Mason’s women’s basketball history to reach 1,000 points in her collegiate career. Brown joins a group of women spanning several generations, including all-time scoring leader Keri Chaconas, who totaled 1,747 points while playing for the Patriots from 1992-1996. The group consists of players who played as long ago as 1977 and only consists of five players who played after 2010, including Brown.
“It feels pretty good, but it’s also very humbling,” Brown said. “It’s awesome to be a part of that group, but it just makes me want to keep going and strive to do better.”
The feat is made more impressive by the fact that she reached the mark in a record 50 games.
“I actually didn’t know at the time that I was at that number,” Brown said. “The key was definitely just playing my hardest. I went out there and gave it my all every game, and it was really a blessing to have been able to play so well.”
Coach Nyla Milleson agreed that Brown’s work ethic was definitely one of the keys to her game, while noting that the accomplishment was due to multiple factors.
“Taylor works extremely hard,” Milleson said. “She’s got a lot of God-given talent, but we also do a good job of putting her in position. It’s a team effort, but there’s no doubt that her talent and hard work have gotten her to this point. She’s definitely motivated.”
Brown finds motivation in accomplishing not only her personal goals, but also playing for her sister.
Brown’s older sister overcame a cancerous tumor in her knee when she was only 11 years old and attended Virginia State University where she played Division I basketball.
“Motivation is so important,” Brown said. “And she motivates me to play hard every day.”
Her sister is not Brown’s only support system: her teammates and coach have also facilitated Brown’s growth as a player.
“My teammates encourage me continuously; I know they always have my back, and that’s all you really need,” Brown said.
Milleson agreed, noting that Brown’s teammates “understand her role to be a main scorer and leader, and they listen.”
“They know that in order for us to be successful, we need to grow as a team and let Taylor lead by example. As Taylor keeps growing, she keeps her teammates more involved, and they all feed off of each other,” Milleson said. “It’s all about chemistry and trust. When your best player is a good person who works hard, everyone else works hard as well. The trust is there.”
The chemistry doesn’t stop there. Brown relies on the chemistry she has built with her coach to reach her goals.
“My coach, she really worked with me the whole way,” Brown said. “She set goals for me, she taught me how to be a better communicator, she taught me about being a leader, and everything I needed to know on and off the court.”
Milleson said that while Brown’s obvious talent and drive were there, it took a little longer to get Brown comfortable with becoming a leader.
“Taylor’s work ethic is always there,” Milleson said. “She’s the first in and the last out of the gym. She’s self-driven in all that she does. She’s one of our captains, and she takes that position seriously. She leads by example, and now we are just trying to help her become a more vocal leader.”
Recently, Brown has stepped up her game in other ways than scoring that have helped her become the leader that Milleson knew was there.
“The game against Massachusetts was one of the best examples,” Milleson said. “Taylor had nine assists, and she’s averaging five rebounds per game. We lost in overtime, but the effort was there. We just really need to win those close games, and Taylor helps us get there. If she continues to grow as a leader as much as I expect her to, her numbers in assists, rebounds, and points will keep going up. More importantly, she is a special player and a great person. Her attitude is a major contribution to the team.”
Brown’s passionate attitude goes far beyond the game. At the age of 10, Brown ran her own basketball camp deemed the “Taylor Brown Basketball Camp” for young kids. She taught them basic basketball skills.
“My ultimate goal for the future is to own a sports complex, where I can teach kids all the time,” Brown said. “I want to provide an opportunity to show these young kids that they can get to Division I basketball.”
Brown would also like to own her own videography company.
“I’ve worked in videography for a little while now, and I love it,” Brown said. “I’ve always been a workaholic when it comes to playing basketball, teaching kids, school, videography or anything really. I have to be doing something.”
As for the remainder of the season, Brown and Milleson agree that the A-10 Championship game is on their radar.
“We want to finish at the top of the conference, and close out these last games,” Milleson said. “We’ve got to win the close games, the overtime games; we just need to grind it out. If we continue to get better every day, we’ll be ready.”
Photo credit: Amy Rose