Last week, Eastern Mennonite University senior Brianna Zook (Harrisonburg, Va./Broadway) had her first career double double, going off for 20 points and 10 rebounds. This week, she is the Royals Athlete of the Week.
Zook has done a lot of work behind the scenes, with her only career start on Senior Night. The lack of minutes during her time at EMU at first were an adjustment, but in her final season, Zook believes that she has really been able to hone her skills and improve her game.
“I think my play overall this season has gotten a lot better,” she said. “I learned new post moves and I was able to get to the basket a lot better.”
On Monday, the women’s basketball team took a loss against Shenandoah University in the ODAC Tournament. Even though she is disappointed in the outcome of the game, Zook is proud of how the team played.
“I was really upset because I thought we could’ve made it further in the tournament,” she said, “but we played really hard and we didn’t give up. Shenandoah just made shots that night.”
Coach Kevin Griffin has certainly noticed her hard work.
“Brianna was just patient and kept working and really played well for us in her senior year,” he said. “She never complained and always gave her best each and every day she came to practice. She is a well-liked, but more importantly, well-respected player by her coaches and teammates. Brianna is a selfless and humble player.”
However, no season is without its challenges. One that Zook found, and that some athletes might not talk about, is the daily struggle with wearing down.
“My biggest challenge is how long the season goes,” said Zook. “It gets tiring after a while, having practice almost every single day, and sometimes it was frustrating having to get up to go practice when all I wanted to do was sleep or go out with my friends.”
But being on the Eastern Mennonite University women’s basketball team has shaped Zook’s life both on and off the court.
“As a player, I was taught new things and was able to develop my skills each year,” she said. “As a person, I found myself being more confident in what I do on and off the court. What I’ll take from this experience is the memories and the friendships that I made. The bus rides back from games, the late night game nights, going out to eat — that is what’s really going to stick with me.”
After graduation, Zook plans to continue her involvement in athletics by attending graduate school to get a master’s degree in athletic training.