A dynamo on the court who counts boxing as one of her biggest off-court passions, sophomore guard Brecca Thomas adds an element of toughness for the Colorado women's basketball team.
Thomas already has displayed a marked improvement over her freshman season, recording two of her top performances in recent weeks. That stretch includes scoring a career-best 12 points against Northern Arizona on Dec. 9 and a 10-point, four-assist performance in a victory against Presbyterian on Dec. 19.
Q: Do you feel like you are making the sort of strides you hoped for as a sophomore?
Thomas: Definitely. It's been a collective effort from everyone to make progress as freshmen last year to sophomores. The team has definitely progressed and personally I think I have, too. Everyone's telling me I've got a bigger voice and I'm playing my part in doing what I need to do, what I'm supposed to do, in order to contribute to the team and get wins.
Q: What did you feel like you needed to improve the most after your freshman season?
Thomas: One big thing is leadership. Being a point guard, leadership is a big part of your role. Finding a voice in the last year. ... I was a little shy and I guess you could say I didn't have much of a voice. But this year I've been able to speak and lead, and be able to listen and follow as well. It takes a certain amount of maturity to do both, and I think I've done that. I'm more aggressive with my shot. On defense I'm more aggressive. I'm trusting my fitness.
Q: You grew up in Texas. How did you get into basketball?
Thomas: I have a lot of guy cousins and basketball was their sport. I remember when I was younger I wanted to play, but my parents wanted me to do cheerleading or something. But they saw that every time I went to my cousins' house, I'd be out there playing basketball in the driveway. They finally figured out I loved the game and let me play it. I've always been with guys playing basketball. Having guy cousins made it that much more fun because we'd always talk trash against each other.
Q: Why did you choose CU?
Thomas: When I came to visit I was like, "Wow. It's a beautiful place." You can't beat Boulder. Beautiful people. Everyone is so kind. The team, we're so family-oriented. There's such a high level of respect among each other, players and coaching staff.
Q: You list boxing as one of your hobbies. How did you get into that?
Thomas: I did it a lot back home, and here at the rec center there's a boxing room so sometimes I get that workout in. It's a great workout. It's shoulder burn. It's cardio, endurance, everything. Back home my dad took me and my brother to like a boxing gym. I went through a boxing workout and thought I was going to die. It takes a lot of endurance. You have to be really, really ready. It's a hard sport. I spar with my brother and that's a hard thing to do — taking punches to the face. You've got to be tough in the mind to take hits to the face. But it's definitely fun.
Q: How do those skills transfer to the basketball court?
Thomas: You have to have toughness, quick feet and quick hands, too. The mental toughness, not letting anyone back you down or punk you or anything like that. And endurance-wise, I think it's the best ever, maybe second to swimming. It carries over a lot out there.