It’s been a bumpy road for Ball State Women’s Basketball this season, but the future looks bright for the Cardinals as sophomore forward Oshlynn Brown has taken her talents to the next level.
The Cardinals came into the new season with six true freshmen joining their roster after the departure of four former starters from last season. The team was in search of someone they could rely on, and Brown filled that position from the start.
“In the summer, I was getting in the gym knowing that this is going to be a young team,” Brown said. “ I just knew what I had to do. I have to lead for the team.”
Brown’s performance last season is nothing to look past, as she solidified herself in a key role coming off the bench. She was awarded the Mid-American Conference Sixth Player of the Year and was listed on the MAC All-Freshman Team, finishing the season averaging 8.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in just 18.5 minutes per contest.
This season, Brown has been able to up her play and become go-to scorer for the Cardinals.
“I know when it is time for me to score,” Brown said. “I like to pass the ball to my open teammates a lot too, so I’m not selfish with the ball, but I know when I have to put up numbers and score.”
Brown is leading the Cardinals in scoring and rebounding this year as she averages 13.5 points and 9.2 rebounds a game. Her numbers on the glass place her third in MAC.
Brown has been able to dominate in games in the post using her strength to convert on contested shots. Brown had one of her best performances of the season Dec. 16 in a win over Western Kentucky where she posted a season-high 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. This was just one of her five games this year scoring at least 20 points.
“It has been a really good step for [Brown] in year two,” head coach Brady Sallee said. “Last year as a sixth man, she could see the way the game was going and feel it out a little bit, and there wasn’t a real pressure for her to be a go-to scorer. Her role has switched, and now she is the go-to scorer, and she gets the ball in the crunch time and when we need buckets.”
Opposing teams have started to key in on Brown in her new role and try to keep her from getting comfortable on offense. She has responded well to the adversity and managed to record 10 double-doubles on the season so far.
“The pressure of having to deliver when getting game planned for is different, and she has handled it very well,” Sallee said. “It’s always good to see that kind of progression from a freshman to a sophomore … and it makes me excited for the future.”
As Brown continues progressing, Sallee said her role as a leader could grow as well.
“You really see her lead during games. You see the way she talks on the defensive end, and that part of it has been really good,” Sallee said. “Her next step as a player is going to be leading in practice, and I think she understands that and is getting better at it.”
While Brown has played well this season, she said she knows there are areas in her game she needs to improve on to become even more of a threat to opposing teams.
“I need to work on playing outside of the post because I want to be able to play off the post and in the post, especially when I have a mismatch guarding me,” Brown said. “Also, the post too because everybody is flopping on me now because I’ve been playing more physical, so I have to learn how to not be so physical.”
Contact Daric Clemens with any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @DaricClemens.