01/18/08 — Billups signs with Longwood University

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Billups signs with Longwood University

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on January 18, 2008 3:53 PM

Two years ago when Spring Creek transfer Brittani Billups stepped onto the Eastern Wayne campus, Warriors' head basketball coach Brent Holland knew he was inheriting a special athlete.

What Holland didn't know was just how special the 6-foot-1 Billups would prove to be.

More than 1,000 points and three consecutive all-conference selections later, Billups has become one of the area's most formidable female players. A highly-recruited athlete, Billups earned a scholarship to play at Longwood University (Va.).

With offers from Lenoir-Rhyne and Wingate already on the table, a sampling of the atmosphere Longwood has to offer was all it took for Billups to choose her college home.

"Longwood was just a perfect match," Billups said. "When I went to visit the campus I fell in love with it. The girls (on the team), they were just like a family. They do everything together."

Perhaps the characteristic that makes Billups most attractive to college programs is her ability to dominate a game while making her teammates better at the same time.

Her game on the floor as well as her willingness to be someone her teammates can admire is why Holland sees Billups as a "diamond in the rough." Through 38 games at Eastern Wayne, Billups has averaged nearly 20 points, 15 rebounds, three steals and two assists a game.

"Brittani leads by example," Holland said. "The other girls know she works hard. She doesn't take a lot of bad shots. She's long, she's athletic, she's got multiple post moves and she can take you outside."

A constant focus of opposing defenses, Billups sees an endless barrage of box-and-one, triangle-and-one and varying zone defenses on a nightly basis. Getting to Longwood, and playing on the college level where she can blend in on the court without having to shake off multiple defenders is something Billups admits she is looking forward to.

"I definitely won't have to deal with as much pressure," Billups said. "I have to deal with (multiple defenses) now. I'll be able to pick up my game a lot more."

Since she first donned a Warriors' uniform Billups has undergone a maturation process that has helped her play within her self more, increased her mental toughness and taught her to completely buy into Holland's system.

"She can take criticism a little better now," Holland said. "She doesn't always feel that she's right. She's increased her range in her jump shot, she's developed her post moves and her conditioning has gotten better.

"She's increased her basketball IQ because at one time she thought she had to block everything in the gym. She's just a smarter player."