Jan. 16, 2013
by Chris Weinman
When the 2011-12 season came to a close last March, five members of the Commodore women's basketball team earned postseason honors from Southeastern Conference writers and coaches. Sophomore Christina Foggie, the league's leading scorer, was a unanimous first-team All-SEC selection. Junior Tiffany Clarke and sophomore Jasmine Lister earned second-team honors, while sophomore Stephanie Holzer was an honorable-mention selection and Kady Schrann was named to the All-Freshmen squad.
Not found on that list was Elan Brown. The Atlanta native played in every game of her junior season, starting 23 contests. Brown led the Commodores in steals, was third on the team in rebounds, fourth in both minutes and assists, and sixth in points.
That statistical diversity is a hallmark of Brown's game. At 6-feet-tall, Brown has little trouble challenging shots on the perimeter or clogging up passing lanes with her length. That also gives her a rebounding advantage against most every guard she would be matched up against. While Brown is a confident scorer, she sees the importance of contributing to the team in a variety of ways.
"Sometimes it's the hustle stats that matter the most," Brown said. "Because when we need that spurt or that one play to get us over the hump, it's a great feeling to be able to do that for my team."
Brown was an SEC All-Freshman selection in 2010. She made eight of her 10 starts that season against league competition, scoring in double-figures three times against conference foes. She has missed only three games in her VU career.
As a sophomore, Brown contributed two double-doubles to the Commodores' cause. She paired a career-high 18 points with 10 rebounds in a win over Quinnipiac in the Vanderbilt Thanksgiving Classic. In SEC action, she pulled 11 boards and added 11 points during a convincing victory over Ole Miss.
Last season, she would narrowly miss double-doubles no fewer than four times. On three occasions, Brown scored 10 or more points and pulled down exactly nine rebounds. While she may not be lighting up the scoreboard or receiving the accolades from those outside observing Vanderbilt's program, Brown is just fine with her role on a Commodore team that returned its top eight scorers from last season.
"After my freshman year I realized how I could contribute to the team, especially with my knowledge," Brown said. "Now I think my role is best as a leader, especially defensively, getting people where they need to be, and leading both on and off the floor."
Brown considers the off the court portion of her leadership responsibilities an easy task as part of a team that is extremely connected to one another. She instantly had an ally on the squad her freshman year, as she and fellow senior Tiffany Clarke came to Vanderbilt in 2009 as club teammates for the nationally respected Georgia Metros. But bonding with a group that Brown refers to as "16 sisters" was no problem. She says the entire team enjoys each others' company and makes a point to hang out and have fun away from the court.
"I think that we're all kind of like that," Brown said. "We're pretty goofy when we're together. It is kind of a big family reunion whenever we're together. It's fun."
A psychology major with a minor in financial management, Brown has found an outlet at Vanderbilt through the art department. She has taken classes in drawing, ceramics and performance art. Brown recently has filmed music videos with her teammates for a multimedia class, and notes that her favorite ceramics projects included an African mask and an 18-inch-tall traditional coil pot.
"I didn't really think of it as something that I'd be that interested in, but it's pretty relaxing because you kind of have to focus on what you're doing," Brown said. "You don't have time to think about anything else. You don't have time to worry when you're making stuff."
On the court, Brown and her teammates are focused on another successful season under Head Coach Melanie Balcomb. The `Dores were picked the finish third in the SEC this season and are poised to make their 14th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.