By Anthony Navarrete, Staff Writer
Senior basketball player Bria DeGrate made Newman history by being the first Jet to reach the 1,000-point mark in her collegiate career since Newman made the switch from NAIA to NCAA.
DeGrate accomplished this feat on Jan. 7 when the team played against Randal University and ultimately won.
DeGrate, who hails from Grand Prairie, Texas, has been playing at Newman since her freshman year and Women’s Basketball Head Coach Darin Spence said she had to mature faster than some of her other teammates.
After three of the senior players were injured, Spence said, “Bria was thrown into the fire. It forced her to grow up quicker.”
DeGrate said she felt the pressure but knew she would have to overcome it for her team.
“I knew I had to get my confidence back because I wasn’t very confident. I didn’t think I was good enough to play yet, so I had to get rid of that and just play and just be there for my team,” she said.
Since then DeGrate has become a top player in the conference.
“She’s top five in our conference for scoring. She’s also top three in steals per game. So she’s a good all-around player,” Spence said.
While she’s been making Newman history on the court, she’s studying to be a physician’s assistant. She said she could spend anywhere from 30 to 40 hours a week studying while practicing 20 hours a week.
“It’s hard, but I’m proud of myself for being able to do it,” she said. “I’m happy I was able to transition into college and get my time management, my priorities and my organization in order.”
Spence said DeGrate has been a leader on the court and in the classroom.
“She’s been on all the honor rolls here and the Heartland Conference honor rolls,” Spence said. “She’s the complete package. I think she represents Newman and our basketball program in a good way.”
DeGrate said that while she’s been studying in Kansas, she hasn’t felt that home was too far.
“I’ve talked to my mom everyday,” she said. “My family comes to all of our Texas games.”
As for life after Newman, DeGrate said she hasn’t ruled out the possibility of attending Wichita State for its physician’s assistant program, but she also has a desire to go back to Texas.
“I’ve had a really good experience here at Newman. I’ve grown up a lot. I’ve experienced a lot. So I’m ready to move to the next chapter in my life,” she said.
PHOTO: SENIOR GUARD BRIA DEGRATE made history when she became th first jet to reach 1,000 points. Courtesy photo, Newman Athletics