The Collegian
Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Shells sets records, but wants more

Senior guard Brittani Shells makes breaking records look as easy as her signature reverse finger-roll layup.

Shells became the University of Richmond women's basketball team's second all-time leading scorer on Senior Day on Saturday against St. Louis University. She entered the game with 1,989 career points, needing only 11 to reach the 2,000 point pinnacle, a feat few players - male or female - have ever or will ever meet.

After a great pass from fellow senior Crystal Goring, Shells drove to the basket and made her 2,000th and 2,001th points on a reverse layup early in the second half, making her only the second-ever Spider in women's basketball history to record 2,000 points.

But Shells' accolades don't end with the 2,006 career points. She stole another record, this time on defense. Shells had two steals against the Billikens, which were all it took for her to become the program's all-time leader in steals with a total of 300.

Kevin Anderson and Shells became the first ever male and female player duo from the same school to score 2,000 career points on the same day. Oh yeah, they're fancy, huh? Here's what's fancier: They both scored their 2,000th points on reverse layups in the second half. Swag.

Both programs have two of the country's most gifted guards, and not just for their innate ability to score. They are tough, tenacious and fearless on defense as well. Shells averages 2.6 steals per game, and Anderson averages 1.6. They also share the wealth with assists: Anderson averages 3.4 assists per game and Shells tallies 3.2.

But there is something remarkable about Shells. It is hard to say exactly what it is. Of course she is an athletic, accomplished player, but there is something about her personality that amazes me. She had just become the second all-time leading scorer and she was completely down-to-earth.

I asked her what it felt like to be one point shy of the milestone at the end of the first half, and with a laugh, she said, "If I made one of my free throws earlier, I would have had it then."

Shells certainly kept the 2,000 point milestone in perspective.

"I was filled with so many emotions," she said. "For a lot of people, 1,000 points is an accomplishment. To know that I hit 2,000 points in my collegiate career, not many people do that. You hear of people hitting 1,000 points and I feel like an all-star, honestly."

Shells said she was talking to one of her friends before Saturday's game and asked him if it was normal to score 2,000 points and his response: "No, that's not normal at all."

Shells also said that her ability to reach 2,000 points was not all her own. She praised several important people in her life.

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"Two-thousand points is a lot, but if it wasn't for my Father in Heaven and for Coach [Michael] Shafer giving me the opportunity from my first start here -- if it wasn't for my teammates, willing to play with me on the court, it wouldn't have been possible," she said.

Shells' college career is nearing a close. She has been a part of one of the most successful women's basketball teams at Richmond, but the team hasn't been invited to the NCAA championship tournament since 2005. It has been to the NIT tournament for the past two years, but Shells is ready for the last two jewels in her collegiate crown: an Atlantic 10 conference championship and a trip to the NCAA tournament.

"I've reached 2,000 points in my career, I'm the leader in Richmond history in steals now, and everything is coming together," she said. "But all I'm thinking about right now is the A-10 championship and a trip to the NCAAs. When I do that, my collegiate career will be complete"

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