From dolls to basketballs
March 1, 2010 —
She used to bring Barbie dolls to her brother’s basketball practices.
Now she is the Cardinals leading scorer. Junior forward Brittany Burkhardt isn’t sure how she made the transition.
“My dad said I used to bring Barbie’s to practice, but then somehow along the way I started picking up a ball at practice instead,” Burkhardt said.
She began playing basketball when she was nine years old. Her passion for the game grew when she began playing for her first team in an AAU league: the Detroit Shock.
“I’m a very competitive person and I think it’s a great way to exert that on the court against other competitors,” Burkhardt said.
Head Coach Shannon Baugh said Burkhardt uses her physical power to her advantage.
“If she were running at me in the lane, I’d get out of her way,” Baugh said.
Her 11.7 points per game and 5.4 rebounds both rank in the top 20 in the GLIAC. As the only Cardinal to average in double figures, she doesn’t feel added pressure.
“Our coaches have embedded in our brains it’s all about the little things,”
Burkhardt said. “I think my team counts on me to not let the other team’s post players score and get rebounds.” Burkhardt is a communication major with a double minor in athletic coaching and psychology. The full-time student interns with ESPN 100.0 FM and is a member of SAAC (Student Athlete Advisory Committee). It’s a busy schedule, one she thinks deserves a show on MTV.
“Our team always jokes we should have a TV show ‘True Life: I’m a College Athlete’ so students can see everything we do,” Burkhardt said.
Her favorite NBA team is the Detroit Pistons although she said it’s been difficult watching them struggle this season. Like the Pistons, the Cardinals have struggled in recent seasons although it hasn’t taken anything away from her experience.
“Our team chemistry has helped make the losing bearable because we are all each others biggest fans and try not to dwell on the losses,” Burkhardt said.
With the team struggling, Burkhardt is excited about what the future holds.
“When that time comes and we start winning consistently, it will be nice to know all the hard work we have put in has finally paid off,” she said.
Burkhardt recently was named GLIAC North Division player of the week in helping the Cardinals to their first three game winning streak this season. It’s an individual award, although she believed the team helped her.
“I couldn’t have done it without my team,” Burkhardt said. “We had a huge weekend winning our last two home games.”
Burkhardt, injured for much of last season, has come back with a vengeance. She has started in 20 of the 26 games she has played.
“When your out for a while, you have to work ten times harder to get back into the shape you were in,” Burkhardt said. “I feel like I’m in a much stronger condition this season.”
As the team prepared for its weekend trip to Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech, Burkhardt wasn’t looking forward to the long ride.
“I hate bus rides when our coaches make us do study halls because it seems like time stops,” Burkhardt said.
Before games, Burkhardt likes to stay loose in the locker room and get her teammates excited for the game.
“I like to goof around and dance to our locker room music. It gets everyone pumped up,” she said.