Feb. 25, 2013
RALEIGH, N.C. - Good things come to those who wait. Just ask Len’Nique Brown.
The pint-sized point guard has provided NC State with a great spark off the bench after transferring in 2010 from the University of Southern California, but per NCAA rules sat out the 2011-12 season.
Despite playing in all 37 games as a freshman, the San Antonio, Texas, native elected to leave USC because she wanted a change from the big city life of Los Angeles.
“I think Raleigh is more appealing than Los Angeles [for me],” Brown said. “It’s quiet here and I like that.”
One of the most notable games she played in at USC was the contest against NC State at Reynolds Coliseum. She scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds that night.
“The game against NC State is one that sticks out to me,” said Brown. “Our starting point guard wasn’t feeling well so I played a lot. I remember how much the State fans were really into that game and how loud the band was.”
Little did Brown know that she would soon have the opportunity to play for the Wolfpack and call Reynolds Coliseum her new home. Brown chose NC State over New Mexico State and Colorado, after taking a visit to Raleigh and speaking with the coaching staff.
“When you're looking for a college, it's one of the most important times of your life and you have to be somewhere where you're comfortable,” Brown added. “Every college isn't for everyone and I feel like I'm at home here.”
Brown echoes similar thoughts as her teammates have in the past. She loves the family atmosphere that surrounds the Wolfpack women program.
“The girls on the team are like my sisters,” Brown said. “Especially since I’m so far away from my family in Texas it’s great that our team is a family. Our coaches are great too and they're people that we can go talk to outside of basketball. I feel like we have that connection here and it may not necessarily be like that at a lot of other places.”
Brown was able to participate in all team practices while sitting out the 2011-12 season, allowing her to time to pick up the team’s offensive and defensive systems and what her role on the team would be before she actually stepped on the court.
“It was very tough to sit out the season, but more than anything it taught me patience,” Brown said. “Being able to learn from Myisha and how she leads the team was a big help. I think sitting out a year has actually helped me as a player and helped me grow as an individual.”
When Brown was sitting out the season, she remembers how much she wanted to get on the court and play, but Wolfpack fans made her feel as if she was as much of a part of the team as the girls on the court.
“All the fans here make you feel like you're at home. Even when I didn't play last year I still felt like I was out there,” Brown stated. “The students also make you feel at home and it's just a family atmosphere here at State that I love.”
On November 9, 2012, Brown made her long-awaited Wolfpack debut in Reynolds Coliseum and played 20 minutes, recording five points, seven assists and four rebounds.
She looked very comfortable on the court and showed Wolfpack fans what they can expect to see from her - a point guard with blazing fast speed.
As the season has progressed, Brown has become more comfortable with running the offense and says that she has learned when it’s the right time to push the ball and when it’s the right time to slow the ball down and run a play. Her decision-making in the contest against Arizona State in Las Vegas allowed her to hit the go-ahead shot to clinch the win for the Wolfpack.
“Coach designed a play, but when it broke down because the defense was guarding the passing lanes, I just had to go for what I know,” said Brown. “Coach [Harper] had faith in me making the shot and I didn’t have any problems taking the shot.”
Brown has had a handful of impressive games as a member of the Wolfpack. Her first came against Auburn in the Sheraton Raleigh Wolfpack Invitational title game. She nearly notched a triple-double as she finished the game with 10 point, nine rebounds and seven assists.
“I just came in and tried to be a spark plug in the game with my speed and energy,” Brown said. “The rebounding aspect was just me hustling to loose balls off the rim combined with being in the right place at the right time.”
She has since gone on to take over the starting point guard duties and has responded by averaging 9.5 points and 6.5 assists in six games as a starter. Brown flirted with the elusive triple-double again in a victory over a ranked Florida State team on Feb. 14, compiling 13 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.
NC State hosts its final home game of the season versus Virginia on Thursday at 7 p.m.