The University of Central Arkansas’ Megan Herbert and Baylor University superstar Brittney Griner now share a stat line.
Herbert, a 5-foot-11 senior post, and Griner, a 6-8 senior post and rated as possibly the greatest player in women’s college basketball history, are the only active NCAA Division I women’s basketball players who have more than 2,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds. Herbert reached the point milestone with a basket in the first 13 seconds Saturday afternoon in the victory over Northwestern State.
“It’s crazy,” Herbert said, with a twinkle in her eye, in talking about the link between the Sugar Bears and the Lady Bears, the defending national champion and No. 1 in the country. “We are a smaller school and not a whole lot of people look at us. I’m a much smaller post player. All of this shows how much work I’ve put in, my teammates have put in, and the coaches have put in over the last four years to build this program up to where it is.”
Herbert, who received a plaque before the game for having the most made free-throws in Southland Conference history, has 72 career double-doubles, tied for seventh all time. She currently has 2,020 career points (tied with Teri Conder for fourth all-time for the Sugar Bears) and 1,263 career rebounds.
Officials stopped the game after she maneuvered inside on a preset play for a quick basket that got her to 2,000, something UCA coach Sandra Rushing said Herbert didn’t want to do.
“She’s so humble,” Rushing said. “Even though she didn’t want to stop the game, I wanted to. This is a milestone and I wanted that to happen.”
“It’s huge, really,” said Herbert as she continued a series of smiling interviews. “Not many people get an opportunity to do this (2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds). And there’s still a lot of ballgames left and we get to play for a championship. And it’s great to do it at home and celebrate it with my teammates, parents, family, our fans and everybody. It’s a really big accomplishment.”
Herbert, out of Shiloh Christian, was new coach Matt Daniel’s prized recruit when he took over the Sugar Bear program four years ago. Herbert, a two-time Player of the Year in the SLC, immediately became an impact player, making double points and double rebounds almost routine.
“When I came here, I never imagined doing something like this,” Herbert said. “I had no idea. You play games and the seasons go by fast. One day you look up and you’re 100 points from 2,000 with almost a season left. Wow. It’s exciting, something I never expected.”
“She’s just a special player,” said Rushing, who is in her first season after she took over for Daniel, who left for Marshall University. “She’s not only a great player, but a great person, a hard worker. She’s just a winner.”Herbert was quick to credit how her teammates have helped pull things together in adjusting to Rushing’s style.
“From preseason to now, we are so much better,” Herbert said. “We are playing as a group and helping each other. Our defensive effort is so much better. And it’s exciting that we are playing well and trying to win another championship.”