I went on a Big 12 podcast a couple of weeks ago to talk about mid-season Big 12 awards. One of those rewards was for the player that's taken the biggest leap from non-conference play to conference play, and I went with Baylor's Sarah Andrews. Someone else on the podcast—I can't remember if it was Phillip, Jamie or Andy—brought up Texas Tech's Bre'Amber Scott's name for that award, and I kind of had an "oh, yeah, of course, Bre'Amber Scott is the right answer here" moment.
And that's the thing about Bre'Amber Scott: she's flown so under the radar out in Lubbock that even I, a person who covers the whole state of Texas here at Dave Campbell's and covers the Big 12 over at Her Hoop Stats, didn't think about how good she's been over the second half of this season.
Part of that is just that Texas Tech as a whole has gone under the radar. The team played really well in non-conference, losing just one game to Jackson State, but they also played a fairly weak non-conference schedule, with just one game against a power conference opponent, an overtime win over Colorado. Once the Red Raiders opened Big 12 play with losses in three of their first four games, they kind of just...left a lot of people's radars.
Anyway, this article isn't about Tech as a whole, though it's worth touching on the fact that the team has really hit a rough patch, losing six of its last seven games. Still, despite the fact that the losses are starting to pile up and Tech's shot at an at-large bid has evaporated, there are some encouraging things going on in Lubbock. The team plays hard every night and while there's been a few bad games—last Wednesday's 84-57 loss to Oklahoma was the team's worst loss of the season—there's still plenty of reason to think Krista Gerlich's team is on the right path.
Alright. The preamble is out of the way. Let's talk Bre'Amber Scott.
Bre'Amber Scott deserves more attention
Bre'Amber Scott's had a weird path to get where she is. Two seasons at Mississippi State, then a year at Little Rock, then an injury-riddled season last year for Tech, as she was limited to just eight games due to a foot injury that cost her the first eight games of the season, then was reaggravated and led to season-ending surgery.
But Scott—a McDonalds All-American nominee and the top player in Arkansas in the class of 2017—seems to finally be finding her stride this year. And while it took a while, it's been good to see her playing so well for the Red Raiders, especially when you consider how much hype there was around her last year when she first transferred to Lubbock.
Scott's overall numbers are good: 17.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. But when we filter it down to just her numbers during conference play, she really jumps off the charts. Scott is averaging 20.7 points per game through 15 conference games, second to only Ashley Joens. Her other numbers have been largely the same—6.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game in conference play—but that scoring...whew, she's ahead of people like Gabby Gregory, Sarah Andrews, Taiyanna Jackson and Madi Williams.
Since conference play began, Scott has failed to score in double figures just once, as she was held to seven points against Oklahoma State. Her best game saw her score 37 points against Kansas State, with 17 of those coming from the free throw line.
And that's really been Scott's best skill this year: she knows how to draw contact and get to the charity stripe. For the full season, she ranks eighth in the country in free throw attempts per game. She hasn't been great at finishing at the rim, but she continually attacks it, which leads to opportunities at the line.
Scott's also shooting the ball from three. She ranks 36th in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage, but 13th in threes made per game. The efficiency hasn't always been there, but she's shooting a lot and making a lot of shots. Sometimes, a team just needs someone who can get the ball in her hands and make plays happen, and that's who Bre'Amber Scott is. She leads the Big 12 in usage rate at 33.9 percent, and her scoring during conference play has helped make up for the fact that players like Bailey Maupin and Rhyle McKinney have struggled in the Big 12.
It's a real shame that it took this long for Bre'Amber Scott to showcase all this for Tech. Barring there being some NCAA rule that I don't know about, this should be her final season of eligibility.
But that's even more reason to celebrate what she's doing. Tech's in a transition year between the two-year Vivian Gray era and whatever comes next after Scott. Maybe it's Maupin's team next year. Maybe it's Jasmine Shavers team. But Scott deserves credit for essentially taking over this offense in a year where there hasn't really been anyone else to play that role.
And the on/off numbers really highlight her importance. Per CBB Analytics, the team has a 100.9 offensive rating with Scott on the floor this season and a 97.2 offensive rating with her off the floor. The only players whose on/off splits have mattered more offensively have been Bryn Gerlich and Jasmne Shavers—the team's offensive rating is +13.8 points per 100 possessions better with Gerlich on floor vs. off floor, while Scott's is +3.8. Shavers is +4.5.
There have been some issues, though, mainly relating to the defense. Texas Tech has allowed 9.4 fewer points per 100 possessions when Scott sits. But I find defensive on/off stuff to be a lot noisier than offensive on/off stuff. We can clearly see the offensive impact Scott has. We'd have to go back and watch a whole bunch of tape to see if the defensive issues are her fault or not. And...well, we're not going to do that. This is about how Scott has fueled the Texas offense this year. Without her, it's hard to imagine this team winning even the four conference games that it's won so far.