PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Wearing her Stanford Cardinal uniform, Beaverton native Cameron Brink cut down the nets in San Antonio last Sunday after winning the NCAA Women’s Basketball championship.
The tournament — 240 minutes on the court, 18 nights in a hotel room, 2 single possession games — didn’t ruffle the freshman.
“It’s surreal. I am still letting it all sink in and it doesn’t feel real but just feeling super humble and super blessed,” Brink told KOIN 6 News.
As for why nothing seemed to rattle the Cardinal, Brink said it was pretty simple.
“We were definitely used to staying in hotels for extended periods of time, whereas I think other teams were going stir crazy. We were like, OK, we’re used to this.”
For nearly 3 months the Cardinal were nomadic. With COVID restrictions in their home county, Stanford was forced to practice and play perpetually on the road.
“We had to go to Santa Cruz to practice and a lot of times we would have to practice in this high school gym that the lights wouldn’t work, it was freezing. The floor, like, we were slipping everywhere,” she said. “But I feel like that’s what really made us tough.”
“We were each other’s home, you know? Because we were moving from state to state, hotel to hotel and we always had each other. And that was kind of the one constant thing we had.”
That strength wasn’t truly tested until the semifinals of the NCAA tournament. After winning their first 4 games by an average of 24 poingts, Stanford had all they could handle against South Carolina.
In that game it became obvious Brink contributes much more than presence in the paint and stats to this championship team.
“I feel like my role on the team is kind of like that emotional leader, to bring the energy and I feel like that kind of keeps the team going at some points.”
Brink and her Cardinal teammates gave Tara VanderVeer her third national title, her first since 1992.
“She’s the greatest of all time. She’s the most prepared coach I’ve ever seen. She watches film 24/7,” Brink said. “She’s an amazing person and just to have the opportunity to play for her and the feeling of getting her this third title, you can’t even put words to it. It just means the world and I’m really happy we got that for her.”