Brittainey Raven: On the move as a leader
Being a leader is a tough task. Being a leader at a young age can be tougher, and excelling in a leadership role is what UT sophomore guard Brittainey Raven -- a team co-captain -- finds herself pursuing daily.
As the 6-0 Raven emerges as UT’s go-to player and as one of the best guards in the Big 12, she also is emerging as a leader on the court and in the classroom.
“Last year I didn’t play as well as I know could have played. I was up and down and I played at a real frantic pace and really got down on myself with my mistakes,” said Raven, known for her quickness and blazing speed on the court.
Looking back at her freshman year, Raven sees that she had a rough time adjusting to her role as a college student-athlete.
“Last year was really tough for me,” Raven admitted. “It seemed like I never had a break between classes, study hall and practice, and I felt like I never had enough sleep. So, I stepped back and thought about how I was doing things. This year, I’ve learned how to manage my time much better.”
With those freshman jitters out of the way, Raven also has easily avoided the dreaded “sophomore slump.” In fact, she is now flourishing.
Raven has been UT’s leading scorer all season, reaching double-digit scoring in 22 of 23 games. She averages 15.2 points per game, is second among the Longhorns in assists (with 72 for 3.1 apg) and in steals (45, 1.96 spg) and is tied for third in rebounding, pulling down nearly five boards per game. In Big 12 conference games, Raven averages 13.1 points and shows her versatility by being ranked among the top 14 players in league scoring, free throw percentage, assists and offensive rebounding.
Raven is serious about growing as a student-athlete and it shows, according to UT head coach Gail Goestenkors.
“I’m really proud of Brittainey. She has taken on a leadership role and really embraced it,” noted Goestenkors. “Being named captain as an underclassman usually doesn’t happen, but that just tells you what Britt’s teammates see in her. Britt has really grown -- and not just because she has emerged as our leading scorer. She’s grown in all facets of the game -- rebounding, steals, and leadership. She is blossoming as a young player.”
With that realization, Raven improved her academic performance and was proud to be selected to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll this past fall. The Commissioner’s Honor Roll recognizes those student-athletes who register a 3.0 or better grade point average during the semester.
Raven, who hopes to major in corporate communications, is utilizing the resources around her as she develops her self confidence and leadership skills.
“Coach G (Goestenkors) has been showing me what it takes to be a great player and a leader. When I was picked as one of the team captains it really helped my confidence,” Raven said. “My teammates, especially Carla (Cortijo) and Earnie (Williams), will pick me up when I get discouraged. Coach (Gale) Valley, who works with the guards, is always telling me when I make a mistake to stomp it out and let it go through the floor.”
And Raven is adjusting to her new role as team captain.
“I’ve been struggling with it a little bit. I want to please and I don’t want people to get mad at me, but I also want to be responsible for our team, too. Coach G tells me that great leaders have to be able to handle tough stuff like taking and giving criticism or getting onto people. She is helping me with the ‘how’s’ of being a good leader, and I really want to succeed in this role,” Raven explained.
Raven points out that she has a favorite quote which, for her, sums up the meaning of being a great leader.
As she continues to show show great promise as a strong student-athlete and leader, Raven has set goals in mind as well.
“Right now, my goals at Texas are to win championships and make the academic All-America team,” noted Brittainey.
“As good as Brittainey is right now I think that we are only scratching the surface of what she can be, on and off the court,” finished Goestenkors.