The Collegian
Saturday, July 04, 2020

True Hollywood Story: Brittani Shells

There were many moments in Brittani Shells' career that felt like a Hollywood film.

The University of Richmond women's basketball senior guard scored 2,029 points in her career, more than any other player in program history, but the most important part of her game is not in the stat book. Shells, like a movie hero, seemed to always come through when her team needed her most.

Last weekend, she participated in the WNBA combine in Indianapolis during the NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four. She was one of more than 50 women who were invited to the event, which Shells says is considered the top free agent combine.

Shells, who suffered a foot injury late in the season, spent several hours a day doing rehab and training for the combine in the few weeks she had left after the Spiders were eliminated from the Women's National Invitational Tournament. And she also worked on another time-consuming project. She and freshman Josh Grice filmed her preparation for the combine and are assembling the footage into a documentary (click here to see part one of the documentary).

Shells, from Camden, Del., is a rhetoric and communication studies major, but has a passion for film. She hopes to play in the WNBA, but said that after her basketball career was over she would like to be a producer or a director.

"She's been carrying around a flip camera for the past two years saying that she's going to make a movie," said junior Rachael Bilney, who played on the women's basketball team with Shells. "It's cool that she's finally doing it."

Shells met Grice at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting on campus, and the two became friends. Grice also worked as a videographer for Richmond's athletic department, and spent a lot of time filming women's basketball games. As Shells' season came to a close, the two began talking about making the documentary.

"We started shooting a few days after the season ended," Grice said. "Brittani also took a [video camera] with her to the combine. The footage came out pretty well."

Grice posted the first part of the documentary, "Road 2 Damascus," on YouTube last Wednesday. Grice said he and Shells planned to post six more videos including footage of Shells' physical therapy, training, practice, an FCA meeting and a discussion of her passion for basketball.

"It takes a lot of time," he said. "I'd say it took over 10 hours just to edit the first video, and that's still probably low-balling it."

Grice, who gained an interest in film by making videos in high school, said it had been great to work with Shells because of her interest in film.

"She wants to know the process," he said. "And she has an amazing memory. Going over footage, she remembers every single moment of every game."

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Shells said she decided to make the film for fun, but she also wants to show her friends and family what the process of preparing for a career in basketball is like. She said she has enjoyed making the film so far, and had learned a lot from Grice.

Shells said she was looking forward to the WNBA draft, which will take place on April 11.

"One of the agents that wants to represent me told me I did well [at the combine]," she said. "There was a lot of chatter about me. I'm optimistic about my future."

Contact staff reporter Zak Kozuchowksi at zak.kozuchowski@richmond.edu

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