Lake Forest College senior hoopster a brick wall on the court
When Lake Forest College hoopster Brittany Avonts blocks a shot, everyone gets in on the fun -- except the opposition.
“When I block a shot, of course, confidence and excitement comes with knowing I did my job on defense, but even more rewarding is the feeling that I was able to help my team,” Avonts, a McHenry native and senior forward at Lake Forest College (LFC), told the McHenry Times. “Of course, feeling the energy from my teammates when I block a shot is fun, too.”
Over the course of her career with the Foresters, there has been a lot of good times in that area. Avonts entered this season tied for fifth on the school's career blocked-shot list, according to GoForesters.com, and averaged about one block per game in her first three seasons. She had a career total of 53 swats through her first three seasons, which matched the amount posted by Nicole Baich from 2004-08. Next on the list is Chris McBride, who had 65 blocks from 1983-87. Carolyn Schuetz has the all-time career record at LFC, with 103 blocks from 1980-84.
Avonts said she does not practice blocking shots and that it is a skill she has developed over the course of her basketball career.
“I think a lot of it stems with being a disciplined defensive player (i.e., knowing when to stay down or jump and staying between the player and the basket) and being able to read the players' next moves by their tendencies,” she said.
As her blocks total has risen at LFC, so have her other statistics. Avonts' points-per-game average has gone from 1.3 as a freshman to 6.9 last season, and her rebounding average has risen from 2.1 to 6.1 in that same time frame.
Avonts said she has improved as a player “immensely.” Her speed and strength have increased, aided by the year-round training she does in the weight room, and her time playing volleyball at LFC, where she is one of the team's top players, helps her focus on different agility styles.
Being part of a supportive program and being influenced by teammates also have been keys, Avonts said.
“I remember coming in as a freshman and being impressed with how confident all the players were,” she said. “Now, in my senior year, I see it in myself and how the impact of sports has helped foster my growth and confidence.”
Off the court, Avonts is the Athletic Council president, which she said allows her to share her passion for sports and foster other sports programs at the school.
Avonts said she came to LFC for the school's neuroscience degree program She said her primary focus this year academically is to get into medical school. Her sports career will help her in that area, she said.
“I will definitely be able to take the discipline, confidence and teamwork that I have learned from basketball and carry it over into my career aspirations,” Avonts said.