Texas Tech senior forward Brittany Brewer's star is on the rise right now, and her name has started to surface in the second round of mock drafts for April's WNBA Draft.
We've had our eyes on Brewer for awhile now and devoted some time to talking about Brewer back in December when I wrote about Texas Tech's strong play in non-conference play. But as the regular season goes into the stretch and the team-wide storylines start to solidify, I thought a good pivot would be to start focusing more deeply on talking about the state's best players – not just in the context of their team's performance, but from a more holistic perspective.
So, let's start with Brewer.
Brittany Brewer's statistical profile
Just from a raw numbers perspective, Brewer's play this year is wild. The senior ranks among the top 90 percent of players in points per game, rebounds per game, and blocks per game, with averages of 15.2, 10.3, and 4.4 respectively. Her block average ranks third in Division I.
Brewer has shot 48.9 percent from the field this season, including just a 4-for-18 mark from three. Brewer – who didn't attempt a single three in her first two years with Lady Raiders – shot 34.3 percent from three last season, and while this year has seen a drop in her attempts and percentages, it's still been an interesting development to see Brewer extend her game out to the arc as her career has gone along, as it helps her become a more versatile player. I'm reminded in that way of current WNBA player Amanda Zahui B of the New York Liberty, a stretch five who blossomed this past season as an interior defender. Brewer's numbers suggest that she has the ability to be that kind of player at the next level, and Saturday's game against Baylor in which Brewer took six threes and made three – yes, she'd made just one on the year coming into that game – could be a portent of things to come.
Looking into the advanced numbers, Brewer ranks 96th in the country in rebounding rate and 10th in block rate. She's got a low free throw rate – you'd ideally like to see her get to the line more often – but has shown good touch from the line for a big.
Brewer's also shown an ability to produce some big stat lines, none moreso than December 22nd's game against Lousiana Monroe. In that game, Brewer set a record for blocks in a game with 16 while also adding 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Let's look at some game film!
One of the best ways to talk about a player is to talk about what the film of that player shows, so let's talk about Brewer's film and use some of Synergy's play type data to put it all into perspective.
Let's start here, even if there's not a lot to say about a wide open three other than "it's a wide open three."
But if Brewer can start doing this more, it'll help the Lady Raiders offense – while bigs are still a dominant presence in women's basketball, the modern basketball approach of stretching the field out and getting open looks from a big on the perimeter is still a very viable strategy.
On this play, no one is following Brewer when she sneaks out to the top of the arc and calls for the ball. Baylor has all five of their defenders parallel with the top of the restricted area or closer to the in-bounds line, and Brewer takes advantage of that. This is something we need to see more from her. She shot fairly well in 2018-2019 from three, and this right here is a good way of getting those shots for her. Catch the defense sleeping.
But three-pointers are a very small part of what Brittany Brewer does. Let's talk about some of the other things that make her such a promising prospect.
Rebounding is a key part of Brewer's gamem especially offensive rebounding. She's grabbing 3.5 offensive boards per game this year, which ranks 48th in the country.
Per Synergy, Brewer's actually not scoring well at all on her possessions that come off offensive rebounds, ranking in just the eighth percentile in points per possessions on those looks. But last season, Brewer's 1.344 points per possessions on put backs ranked in the 94th percentile, so she's been an elite scorer on those kind of looks before, even if this year has been a down season in that sense.
On this play, we see what makes Brewer so dangerous. She's out near the free throw line when the shot goes up and immediately takes off towards the basket and then out jumps everyone – including Baylor star and likely WNBA lottery pick Lauren Cox – to get the rebound. The hops are strong here.
Just as another example of her rebounding, here's a offensive board that led to a Sydney Goodson basket. We get to see not only Brewer's ability to go up and grab a board, but her strength as she gets that board with three Kansas State players around her.
Speaking of strength:
On this play, we get to see Brewer working down low.
Brewer's post up numbers this year: 41.2 percent of her possessions are post ups, with her scoring 1.024 points per possession on those looks, good for the 87th percentile nationally.
That's good, especially when you factor in how much Brewer is posting up. Post ups have become a less efficient play type as time has gone on in the basketball world, so to see her maintain efficiency while ranking in the top 100 in percentage of possessions used via post up is impressive.
And to break the video itself down a little, Brewer does a good job getting position down in the post and snagging the entry pass. From there, she backs the TCU defender down, and even when a second player swings over to help trouble her, she's able to readjust a little and then use her touch at the rim to put the ball up and in.
And, of course, I can't let you stop reading this article without focusing some on the defensive end, particularly Brewer's ability to block shots:
Her combination of size, strength, and instinct makes her such a force on that end of the floor. Brewer's able to stay with the player she's guarding, keep her hands up, and be constantly ready to swat away an inside shot attempt.
On this particular play – from the game where she tied the all-time block record – we see Brewer do a good job switching off her player and over to the driving guard, and then immediatetly get back when the ball was passed to the player Brewer was originally guarding. From there, it's just a matter of putting the arms up, not backing down when the offensive player initiates contact, and then essentially just saying "nope" when the ULM player goes to shoot.
With plays like this, it's no wonder Brewer is trending up when it comes to pro evaluation, and her performance against Baylor – 24 points and nine rebounds, including those three three-pointers – in a game with pro scouts present will only help her stock.
Brewer's not going to be the first Texas player drafted in April – that's likely to be Cox, and if not her then Texas A&M junior Chennedy Carter if she declares – but her performance this season has put her higher up in the conversation. Expect to see her name called at some point in the second round. But before that, she's got a chance to lead the Lady Raiders back to the NCAA Tournament, and while Big 12 play hasn't been as kind to Tech as non-conference play was, they've still got a chance to go on a run thanks to the stellar play of Brittany Brewer.