Volleyball

Q&A | Brown's Houseal double-double machine

Brown senior basketball player Sydney Houseal.

Brown senior basketball player Sydney Houseal.

Sydney Houseal used to pliè. Now she piles up points and rebounds for the Brown girls basketball team.

This season the 5-foot-8 senior power forward, a former ballet student, has nearly averaged a double-double (10.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per game) for the Bears, who are having their best campaign in years.

“She’s incredibly athletic and agile,” first-year Brown coach Stacy Pendleton said. “To see somebody that big and strong that limber and quick is just (amazing). As soon as I saw her play her first game I was like, ‘All right, this kid’s a walking double-double right here.’”

Houseal, who averaged 3.3 points and 6.4 rebounds per game as a junior, has seven double-doubles this season and has narrowly missed several more for the Bears (15-10), who have won eight of their last nine games.

Brown, which has already improved six victories over last year, will close out its regular season at 3 p.m. Saturday when it hosts Sayre.

Q: When did you start playing basketball?

A: I started playing my freshman year. Basically, at first, I was joining just to join, but then over the years, I began to love it. I’ve been playing with these same girls for the past four years and I love them. They’re more like my sisters than just teammates. I love basketball. When I’m on the court I just try to play my heart out.

Q: What’s your role on the team?

A: I’m a captain and I also keep the peace and make sure everybody’s on track. Even when there’s negativity, I try to keep it positive, make sure everybody is encouraging each other.

Q: What has this season been like for you?

A: This has honestly been one of my best seasons. I average at least a double-double every game and I feel like we’ve played better and gelled well this year. And we all love our new coach.

Q: What are your strengths on the court?  

A: Rebounding.

Q: Why?

A: I’m just strong and I go up and get them.

Q: Do you like the physical aspect of rebounding?

A: Yes.

Q: What do you like about it?

A: I just like using extreme force and going after (the ball).

Q: Where does that competitive nature come from?

A: My parents, because they were athletes in high school and college. My mom, she ran track and played volleyball for Southern. And my dad, he played football and basketball for J’town. Then my dad went to Murray State to play football and my mom went to Murray to run track. That’s where they met.

Q: You used to be involved in ballet. How long did you do it?

A: I started when I was 3 and I stopped about two years ago because of basketball. It was interfering with my basketball, and I love basketball more than ballet now.

Q: What do you want to major in in college?

A: Elementary education.

Q: Why?

A: Because I love kids a lot. Throughout the day, I’ll read books to the kindergartners.

Q: Would you like to come back to Brown and be a teacher one day?

A: Yes.

SYDNEY HOUSEAL UP CLOSE

School: Brown.

Year: Senior.

Sports: Basketball and track & field.

Student-athlete: Sydney, who has a 3.9 GPA, says her favorite class is English.

Family: Sydney lives with her mother, Sue; father, Michael; and younger sister, Gabby, 13, who is an eighth-grader at Brown.

Brown coach Stacy Pendleton says: She’s so big and strong you just cannot move her. She just rebounds it and puts it right back up. They won nine last year and we’ve won 15 this year. It’s a lot because of her and what she’s brought to the table and how much she’s improved. She’s been a big piece to the improvement. As the year has progressed, she’s become more and more coachable and just really has gotten better and better with each game. I’m really proud of Sydney. It’s been fun coaching her.