DES MOINES – Every step along the rain-soaked run is a reminder.
“You’re doing this for a reason,” she tells herself. “You’re doing this to get better.”
Because as good of a basketball player as Brittany McPhee is — and the 6-footer who will play at Stanford is widely considered the best in the state — she knows there is always room for improvement.
Running the extra miles, lifting the extra weights, shooting the extra shots — they’ll pay off for her and, she hopes, her Mount Rainier High School basketball team.
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“She wants to be good at her craft, and she works diligently on it,” Rams coach Bob Bolam said.
And she wants that elusive state championship for the Rams after narrow semifinal losses the past two seasons.
“That’s fuel for the offseason,” McPhee, the school’s all-time leading scorer, said of those heartbreakers.
Not that McPhee needs much extra fuel.
“She’s very driven,” her father, Bryce, said.
That’s true on the basketball court and in the classroom, where she carries a 4.0 grade-point average.
But Brittany isn’t the most competitive member of the ultracompetitive family, which includes two older brothers, a younger sister and parents who each played professionally. That honor goes to twin Jordan, also an outstanding player.
“I would be nowhere without her,” said Brittany, who is 2 inches taller than Jordan, the team’s point guard. “Not only does she help me every day in practice, pushing me, but she’s the reason why in games I get the ball.”
And when she gets it, Brittany knows what to do with it, even when she’s double- or triple-teamed. She has averaged better than 20 points since her freshman year, along with 11-plus rebounds.
“Brittany is a scoring machine, and we look forward to having her here at Stanford,” Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer said in announcing the incoming class of recruits. “She’s hard-nosed, runs the floor well and we’re really excited about the way she plays.”
McPhee looks forward to being challenged at Stanford, athletically and academically. But the decision came with a price, meaning she won’t be able to play with Jordan after this season. Some schools offered scholarships to both, but not Stanford.
Jordan, still considering options, has been supportive.
“We’d rather be sisters than let things like that bother us too much,” Brittany said.
While she often comes across as quiet and shy, Brittany is funny and giggly and a lot like other 17-year-olds, her father points out — other than the fact she doesn’t like chocolate.
She gave up other sports, and most of a promising modeling career, to concentrate on basketball. Her favorite part of the game, she says, is scoring. But she doesn’t care how many points she finishes with, as long as the team wins.
After all, that’s what all of those extra miles have been for.
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