When sifting through the rubble of McPherson College’s 4-22 women’s basketball season, junior guard Bailey Brown seemingly has been miscast as she deserves a much better fate.
Having covered a majority of the Bulldogs’ games for midkansasonline.com or broadcasting for 96.7 KBBE-FM, I am simply amazed with the type of season the Beloit High School graduate is enjoying during trying times.
It’s not easy mentally and emotionally to take the court night after night when so little winning is involved. Yet, the diminutive 5-4 Brown is a true warrior, playing a grueling 35 minutes a game and taking a pounding in the process. I’ve learned never to guess a woman’s weight, but let’s just say she is petite and leave it at that.
Brown gives away size to most of the opponents she goes up against. Yet, she sends her slight frame hurling toward the basket repeatedly, which has resulted in a staggering number of free throw attempts. In the 26 Mac games, she has shot 240 and made 175 for 73 percent. At one point she was averaging 10 attempts a game, but in some Bulldog games where they’ve been blown out I think the officials let a lot of fouls go just to get it over with. Brown could easily have another 40 or 50 attempts if I had a whistle in my mouth.
She averages 16.7 points and 6.7 rebounds, which I find to be a remarkable number since the Bulldogs’ three post players don’t average that many.
It seems like after every game, one of the first questions that I ask second-year coach Gordon Reimer is, “What more can you say about the way Bailey played?” And generally his response is a shake of the head, as if he’s amazed she can accomplish what she does.
Brown first became known to McPherson fans when she played for Beloit in the Mid America Classic at the Roundhouse. She immediately stood out, along with her teammate Cami Engelbert. The two played together during Brown’s first two years at Mac, but Engelbert is not playing now after suffering an injury during the offseason.
In addition to Brown’s exemplary performance on the court, she’s an ambassador for the college off it. This past weekend she was one of only two KCAC players to make first-team NAIA Capital One All-American, the other being Kansas Wesleyan’s Vanessa Kresin. The criteria for the award is rigid.
The Capital One Academic All-America program, selected by the College Sports Information Directors Association, is the highest academic award given in collegiate athletics from NCAA Division I to the junior college ranks. Nominees to the Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-America program must be a starter or important reserve with at least a 3.3 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) and must have attended their current institution for at least one full academic year and have reached sophomore athletic eligibility status. Honorees to the Academic All-District First Team in their four respective districts are then considered for Academic All-America status as voted on by the National Academic All-America Committee.
Brown certainly meets all the criteria. McPherson College should be proud of how she represents the college in athletics and academics. She is the epitome of the true student-athlete.