Kennedy Brown of Oregon State, in knee rehab behind her, says she is “stronger” and “more athletic” on return of women’s basketball

CORVALLIS – Five new faces were among those on the training ground on Tuesday as Oregon State kicked off preparations for a promising 2021-22 women’s basketball season.

There was another sort of new face, although she wasn’t new to the team. It’s been just a while for Kennedy Brown, a 6-foot-6 forward who has been off the ground since February 2020 due to an ACL injury.

Most newcomers all have reason to make an impact this season. Two are transfers – Emily Codding and Tea Adams have a total of 108 starts in their previous schedules – and rookie Greta Kampschroeder is a McDonald’s All-American.

It remains to be seen how they adapt. But at Brown, she’s a proven and serious piece of a list aspiring to return to the national top 10.

Brown started 23 games as a true freshman during the 2019-20 season. She was a productive power forward who not only gives the Beavers defensive strength in the post, but stretches the ground with her perimeter shooting ability and leaves room inside for center Taylor Jones.

“I think she’s the best defensive player I’ve coached since day one,” Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said. “She was the most prepared, natural defender. The angles, things that I usually spend a few years teaching, she already had. … His natural instincts, we really missed it.

Brown, who averaged 6.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in freshman, says she’s at 100% as she contemplates her first game in 21 months in November. Brown thinks she’s past the point of thinking about her knee on the ground. In the meantime, Brown has been working on the rest of the body to improve what she brings to the ground.

“I’m definitely stronger than I’ve ever been. I feel more athletic, ”said Brown. “I am more confident and I feel more comfortable. I kind of found my role.

Brown was out for the entire 2020-21 season, but she remained committed when the team played.

“When you play, you kind of have almost tunnel vision. You are so worried about yourself on the pitch, ”said Brown. “Sitting on the sidelines taught me a lot. I was able to approach the game from another angle.

Specifically, Brown said she watched the point guard play and what they saw. What is the best pass for a particular game.

“By looking at parts from the outside, you can kind of see what works and what doesn’t,” Brown said.

Still, it was difficult to watch rather than play. Brown says her teammates, coaches and family were “super supportive. Brown relied on players like former guard Beaver Kat Tudor for advice, as she suffered a similar injury.

The best advice Brown said he received was “to take it day in and day out.” There will be good days and bad days. You are going to have a bad day. You have to move on.

Oregon State senior Taya Corosdale knows what Brown has been through, having missed most of the season with a leg injury.

“It definitely rocked me mentally for a while. But my teammates were supporting me and my coaches were supporting me so honestly, that’s what kept me positive,” said Corosdale.

With Brown back in the mix, she should make an impact on both ends of the floor. Rueck said she can play up post and up front, and possibly slide and play a small striker at times.

“She has a presence for her from a leadership standpoint. She has a confidence and poise towards herself that is unfazed in great times, ”said Rueck.

Rueck believes the Underdogs will see a noticeable leap in Brown’s offensive play this season. Brown is a capable midrange shooter from behind the arc, but the percentages didn’t show it. Rueck said Brown came to see him last year and asked for help improving his shot.

“She really worked hard to shoot the ball. It turned the negative into the positive by breaking down its fundamentals, ”Rueck said. “I see more consistency in his shooting, more understanding of his return to basket play as well. I think we’ll see some progress on the offensive side.

–Nick Daschel | [email protected] | @nickdaschel

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