When she was growing up, Brittany Brewer had those same dreams as every young little girl who started to bounce a basketball.
The Abilene, Texas, native knew she wanted to attend a four-year university before working her way to becoming a professional career in the WNBA team.
It took some time, but Brewer got to live those childhood visions as she was selected with the 17th pick in the second round by the Atlanta Dream on Friday during the WNBA draft.
“It was just really surreal to see my name on that screen,” Brewer said. “I was kind of confused. I thought it was a glitch, or something. I didn’t understand what was going on.
“So we were screaming and jumping up and down. It was really, really fun.”
It was a moment of bliss which Brewer, admittedly, knew was possible thanks to work she put in the past four years at Texas Tech and during her high school tenure at Abilene Wylie and more.
“I really hope that’s what my story shares,” said Brewer, who’s listed at 6-foot-5. “I’m from Abilene, and I didn’t play AAU except maybe one year just for fun my senior year. I just wanted to have the experience.
“Just to know that really hard work is what gets you there. And then also just forming good relationships with people. … Hard work and valuing the relationships that you have are really important to get to this next journey.”
That odyssey became a little clearer after Brewer found great success under then first-year head coach Marlene Stollings, who challenged the junior post to become more physical in the post and develop a jump shot to stretch opposing defenses.
Brewer responded by almost averaging a double-double (16.6 points, 9.1 rebounds) before parlaying her success into a selection to Team USA during the Pan Am Games over the summer. She became just the second Lady Raider to earn the call — since Sheryl Swoopes in 1995 — and first Texas Tech player to come home with a medal (silver).
“I guess I really (understood) last year, after my junior season. I had a decent season,” Brewer said of when she knew the WNBA was an option. “I kind of knew that would open some doors up. Obviously, getting to play with Team USA this year, I knew it was going to be more of a reality.”
Then Brewer wanted more.
As a senior, Brewer’s desire to earn a postseason berth brought a newfound urgency and helped her teammates step up their games as they all wanted to experience the same thing.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Brewer and the Lady Raiders will never know if a postseason berth was in the cards. Instead, they will know that they set another foundation in the rebuild of the Lady Raider program.
And that’s enough for Brewer, who went on to garner All-American honorable mention from the Associated Press, Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and U.S. Basketball Writers Association in her final season.
She was also a semifinalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award and a finalist for the Lisa Leslie Award, given to the best center in the country.
The on-the-court success led to more teams showing interest before the Atlanta Dream selected Brewer with their second-round pick.
“I am thrilled to welcome Brittany to the Dream family,” said Dream coach Nicki Collen, who’s squad finished last in the league with an 8-26 record, selected Chennedy Carter (Texas A&M) in the first-round pick then took Mikayla Pivec (Oregon State) and Kobi Thornton (Clemson) in the third round. “Brittany’s greatest strengths are running the floor and finishing around the rim. She has great hands and a solid pivot foot and can score in a variety of ways around the rim. Brittany is working to develop her shot to the three-point line consistently and I am excited to see how we can aid in her growth here in Atlanta.”
But the one accolade she’ll cherish, knowing it can be a catalyst for future players in the Lady Raiders program, is WNBA draft pick.
“Really just an honor overall,” Brewer said of becoming the first draft pick in 14 years for the Lady Raiders basketball program. “Just the legacy that this program has, it means a lot to be hearing that and carrying the torch.
“I just hope that I’m a stepping stone for the players to come for the program, as well.”