Commentary: Lady Tops’ Brown is one of best ever in less than three years

The numbers are eye-popping when you put into perspective what senior forward Arnika Brown has accomplished over the past four games.

Over that span, Brown is averaging 15.3 points and 19.3 rebounds per game. She’s averaging 11.2 points and 11.3 rebounds per game this season.

Needless to say, someone’s stepping up their game.

“She makes us look really good when she’s working that hard,” Head Coach Mary Taylor Cowles told Western’s Big Red Radio Network on Saturday. “If she continues to play like that, our season will last for a while longer.”

The Lady Toppers have gone 3-1 during that stretch, and it’s not a surprise that their lone loss came in Brown’s weakest effort of the four games – a six-point, 12-rebound effort in a 61-53 defeat at Arkansas-Little Rock.

Brown currently has the highest career rebounding average in Lady Topper history at 10.3 per game, but she is far from the record in total career rebounds.

Granted, she’ll finish her Western career having only played two years and change.

Brown has 824 rebounds in 80 career games. Career leader Crystal Kelly recorded 1,258 rebounds in 130 games.

That’s 434 less rebounds in 50 less games.

At her current average, Brown would have pulled down 1,339 rebounds if she had played in as many games as Kelly.

There’s no telling what she could have done with a four-year career. Heck, there’s no telling what she could have done with a full three-year career.

And don’t think Brown is all about the boards. She’s closing in on 1,000 career points as well.

Her 21 points at Arkansas State give her 968 total, meaning she’ll need just 32 points over the final two regular season games, the Sun Belt Tournament and likely postseason play to reach the mark.

Cowles was right when she said the Lady Toppers can go far with Brown playing at her current level.

And the senior forward can squeeze a few more games out of what has been a shortened — yet successful — career.

-Zach Greenwell

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