The nationally ranked University of Maryland women’s basketball team is filled with talented, driven players. Among them is Brooklyn native Brianna Fraser, a 6-foot-3 junior forward currently averaging 10.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game coming off the bench.
Fraser led South Shore High School to a city championship her senior year and was a McDonald’s High School All-American. Today, when she enters the game, the announcer usually alerts the crowd that she is from Brooklyn, and if they miss it she lets them know Brooklyn is in the house.
“I go out with a hard exterior, but I’m really soft on the inside,” said Fraser.
She comes from an athletic family—her mother ran track and her father was a professional cricket player. Growing up in East New York, Fraser always played hoops with the guys, often hitting the courts in Gersh Park and playing in local tournaments. Close friend Isiah Deas, now a sophomore at LaSalle University, and his father honed Fraser’s skills.
“Being able to play with them and experience how basketball is in New York really helped me,” said Fraser, who also played AAU with the Gauchos as well as her high school’s AAU team, Team Prince, named for fellow Brooklynite Epiphanny Prince.
With expectations high at Maryland, everyone on the team has to give their all. Fraser said her teammates have pushed her to go hard. Having that encouragement and sense of teamwork helps her excel.
“The team is always so together,” said Fraser. “Everybody in college is talented and you have to keep working at it. I started off slow in my freshman year. I feel I’ve grown into being a better player and teammate. My junior year is going well. There are a lot of expectations to become a leader and dominate in certain aspects of the game, and I feel I’m coming along, but I’m not there yet. I’m just going to keep working on my game and my skill set.”
Fraser dreams of playing professionally after college. Maryland alumnae and current WNBA players Crystal Langhorne, Lynetta Kizer and Tianna Hawkins visit and practice with the team and have given her solid feedback.
Going forward this season, Fraser is looking forward to “dominating on the boards,” she said. “Being able to take the challenge and go out and play hard.”