NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- On Thursday, Maryland freshman point guard Lexie Brown was browsing through old photos on her phone and came across one she took at last year’s Women’s Final Four in New Orleans.
Brown had been invited to the Big Easy to play in the WBCA High School All-America Game, which coincides with Women’s Final Four weekend. She had snapped a shot of the event’s logo on the Jumbotron at the New Orleans Arena and wrote the caption, “I’m going to be here one day.”Little did Brown know, her dream would come true a lot sooner than later.
“For it to be less than a year later is unreal,” Brown said.
Brown, a native of Suwannee, Ga., is the Terrapins’ second-leading scorer (10.1 ppg) behind senior All-American forward Alyssa Thomas. The All-Atlantic Coast Conference Freshman Team selection also ranks second on the squad in assists (139) and steals (46). Plus, she excels in the classroom and was an ACC All-Academic Team selection this year.
While Brown’s season resume is impressive, it is what the rookie has done in the latter half of the season that has helped to propel the Terrapins to their first Women’s Final Four since 2006.
“Our freshmen have been so critical to our success,” Maryland head coach Brenda Frese said. “When you talk about your second-, third- and fourth-leading scorers being freshmen. ... it’s been huge to see their development to help us get to this point.”
Brown has scored in double-figures in 10 of the past 15 contests, averaging 13.7 points per game during the stretch, and posting double-digits five consecutive games.
Coincidentally, that 15-game hot stretch began immediately following Maryland’s 87-83 loss to Notre Dame on Jan. 27. The Terrapins and Fighting Irish will have a rematch in the NCAA semifinals at 6:30 ET Sunday (ESPN).
“I would say that may have been the turning point of the season for Lexie Brown,” Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. “I think she's really come into her own since that game. I think that really was kind of a catalyst for her to continue to improve.”
Brown has basketball in her blood. She is the daughter of former NBA player Dee Brown, a 6-1 guard who played for the Boston Celtics between 1990-2002, earned NBA All-Rookie Team honors in 1991 and won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest the same year. He played college ball at Jacksonville before he was drafted in 1990. Brown’s mother, Tammy, played college hoops.
Dee Brown is currently an assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings and because of his busy work schedule had not been able to watch the Terrapins play live until Maryland’s 76-73 victory against Louisville, when he was granted some time off to attend the Elite Eight contest last Tuesday. Daughter Lexie did not disappoint and put up 20 points against the Cardinals as Maryland moved on to Nashville.
Brown was thrilled her father was able to make the trip last week. The Kings have a game Sunday in Sacramento, which conflicts with the NCAA semifinals, but she is hopeful he will be able to get away to the Music City for this special moment.
Regardless of who is in the stands, Brown knows exactly what she needs to do for Maryland to earn a victory against Notre Dame on Sunday.