Putting the team first is what Linfield junior Brynna Fuller is all about.
After completing a standout career at Shelton High School in Shelton, Wash., Fuller came to Linfield with high expectations. Now a junior, Fuller is capping her third productive season with the Wildcats.
Throughout her high school career, Fuller was a primary scoring option and all-conference player. In her three seasons on the McMinnville campus, Fuller has developed into an important scoring option as a reserve.
“It was something that I expected,” Fuller explains of her shifting role to a reserve following high school. “It’s more about the team than yourself and I was always very close with my team in high school. I enjoy being someone who helps the team and comes in the game as a bench player.”
While playing in all 20 games, Fuller has given the ‘Cats an accurate 3-point shooter off the bench. Fuller is averaging 10.3 minutes pre game and has knocked down 15-of-42 attempts from beyond the arc.
Her ability to generate instant offense of the bench is a role Fuller is conscious of.
“I would say mostly scoring. I know that I play mostly to go in and shoot the three,” says Fuller of the one thing she tries to bring off the bench each night. “Coming off the bench when you’re not exactly warm is a little difficult so you have to make sure your confident enough to come in and knock down a shot.”
Confidence in her outside shooting is something Fuller has worked to develop. While her catch-and-shoot release looks flawless on most nights, it is the one part of her game that has evolved the most since arriving at Linfield.
“Individually, I feel like I’ve made a lot of improvements in my game,” reflects Fuller. “Coach (Robin Potera-Haskins) works a lot with me on my shooting and it shows that she’s helped me a lot. In high school, I scored most of my points on fastbreaks or getting to the free throw line. Now I am more off an outside threat because I don’t have a size advantage.”
For Potera-Haskins, Fuller serves the team well with her energy and team-first mentality.
“Brynna is an outstanding student-athlete who gives our team a lot of energy,” notes Potera-Haskins. “She is a wonderful team player and has been a major player in the team’s success. She brings consistency and great effort every day.”
Along with Fuller’s on-court responsibilities, the junior has found a way to balance being a collegiate athlete while participating in the athletic training education program on campus.
Majoring in athletic training and health education, Fuller has spent many hours treating athletes in the treatment center. Following graduation in 2012, Fuller hopes to attend graduate school and pursue a career as an athletic training. After spending some time with a high school, she hopes to find a position with a collegiate athletic program.
“Out of season, I put in a lot of hours,” notes Fuller. “We are only required to work three hours in the treatment center each week in season, but I typically put in five just because I don’t want to fall behind. Out of season, I’m in there as much as a can. It’s a lot of hours but if you plan accordingly it’s not that difficult.
While being an athlete and an athletic training student has pushed Fuller’s time management skills, it is clear to her that being an athlete serves her future profession well.
“Most of the people who work in the treatment center have been athletes at some point,” explains Fuller. “I can relate to an injured athlete more because I’ve seen it with so many other people and what they go through when they get hurt. I feel that being an athlete gives you a one-up as an athletic trainer.”
“Brynna has done a good job of balancing the requirements of her academics and basketball,” says Laura Kenow, who heads Linfield’s AT instructional program. “It is a challenge for our athletic training students, who are also student-athletes, to meet the clinical hours requirement in the major and participate in their sports. It requires a great deal of proactive communication, and often compromise, among the athlete, the coaches and our clinical coordinator, Greg Hill.
“Time management, prioritization, and sacrifice are often the key elements that allow student-athletes in our major to succeed.”
Along with her individual growth, Fuller has seen the program turn the tide this season. During Fuller’s first two seasons the Wildcats won a combined nine games. This year the Wildcats have already notched 12 wins with one weekend remaining.
The improved play has been a process Fuller has enjoyed being a part of.
“We’ve definitely grown as a team, with a lot of us playing together for two or three years.,” notes Fuller. “We have a lot more chemistry this year and all have the same goal. Before this season we were a random patchwork of players but now were most cohesive and it really shows in our defense and our ball movement. It’s changed a lot.
“The turnaround has been awesome and it’s been really exciting and fun,” says Fuller.
As the regular season wraps up this weekend with the ‘Cats fighting for the final conference playoff spot, Fuller understands the possibilities that lie ahead next season.
“I think we can go as far as the (NCAA) tournament and make a deep run,” says Fuller. “We return almost everybody, so our goals for next year are pretty high. This offseason, everyone will stay in shape and work on their game.”
–Eric Evenson '11
Helped team achieve first winning season in five years
Injuries, illness derail promising season
Henson, Maltman receive all-NWC nods
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'Cats go down fighting, Missionaries have chance at share of NWC title
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128