The WNBA season has not yet officially started, but Bria Holmes is already making an impact for her new team.
Holmes, a former West Virginia women’s basketball player, was drafted in the first round by the Dream just last month.
She was the fifth player under WVU head coach Mike Carey to be selected to the professional ranks in the United States. Holmes was actually the highest former Mountaineer selected in the WNBA Draft.
The Dream has already had three of preseason games and Holmes has been in the starting lineup for each contest. The New Haven, Conn. native scored six points against San Antonio, two points against Chicago and a team-leading 18 points against Los Angeles.
In that game against the LA Sparks, the Dream rallied from a 20-point third quarter deficit, but fell, 88-80. As strong as Holmes was, WNBA veteran Candace Parker was just a bit better pouring in 22 points. That is the highest scoring output by a player in the preseason.
"“I feel like I’m loose and letting all the jitters go,” Holmes said following the game against Los Angeles. “I’m having fun and playing with my team. I’m getting to know them, still, on the court and getting a great feel for myself. I’m letting my defense create my offense.”"
Holmes had a steal and two rebounds in her most recent game and shot 50-percent from the field.
In a recent interview with her hometown newspaper, Holmes said the professional game is much more physical than what she was used to in college with the Mountaineers.
"“The pace of the game is really different,” Holmes told The Register. “I feel it’s a bit more physical in the WNBA. We were a defense-first team at West Virginia, so I think I’m mentally and physically prepared for that. Overall, it’s a good fit for me.”"
Last season, the WVU women’s basketball team finished 25-10 overall and 12-6 in the Big 12 Conference. The Mountaineers were almost unbeatable at home, going 13-2. A big reason for the team’s solid record was the defense play. Holmes, herself, created 39 steals and the Mountaineers had 275 total. She also had 30 of WVU’s 226 blocks in the season.
West Virginia limited opponents to 50.7 points per game, while scoring 70.6, itself.
So far, the Dream is winless in its three preseason games, but has been averaging 74 points per game. Holmes’ new teammates feel she hasn’t missed a beat as Tiffany Hayes said, “She’s holding her own. She’s still a rookie, but she’s holding her own. Of course, we’re taking her under our wing because she’s doing a good job. I think she’s focused on doing what she needs to do to stick around and help us win. I think she’ll be great.”
The Dream has one more preseason game on May 10 before opening the 2016 campaign on May 14.