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George Washington High School's Brittany Holestine will be in a rare position when she takes her spot on the West Virginia women's basketball team.

Holestine, who originally signed with Ohio University but reconsidered after head coach Lynn Bria departed, will be the only native West Virginian on the Mountaineer roster this year.

"I like being the only girl from West Virginia going there," said Holestine, who helped lead George Washington to the state semifinals earlier this year. "It might put a little more pressure on me, but that just makes me want to compete."

With several nationally-ranked instate players passing on West Virginia for a variety of flimsy reasons in recent years, the lack of native Mountain Staters on the WVU roster has been a sore spot. And it didn't initially seem as if Holestine would be breaking that shutout streak, as she signed with the Bobcats during her senior season. However, an impressive postseason tournament, plus an opening on the WVU squad, came together in a fortuitous manner for both sides – thus putting Holestine in the role of home state favorite.

"With coach leaving Ohio, that ended up being a big reason why West Virginia got back in the picture," admitted the Charleston, W. Va. native. "But WVU was an offer I couldn't pass up. Everyone told me WVU would be good because it's my home state school, but I didn't realize that I would be the only home state girl on the roster."

Now that she is set to become a Mountaineer (she will enroll in the second semester of summer school and begin working out with her new teammates), Holestine will concentrate on basketball for the next month and a half. She balances on the court work with weight lifting, which she gets in three days a week. She also runs every day in addition to playing as much pickup ball as possible against all sorts of competition – a schedule that shows she is fully recovered from the knee injury she sustained before her senior season began.

"I had a knee injury right after volleyball finished," said Holestine, who tore the lateral meniscus in her left knee. "I had surgery on it, and there was no ligament damage, so it wasn't that big of a deal. I had to rehab for a month or so, and everything went great there. It slowed me a down in the beginning of the [basketball] season, and it took me about midyear to get into game shape. I feel like it's 100% now, and I'm ready to go."

Holestine demonstrated her recovery during the Mountain State Athletic Conference night of champions, a skills and all-star competition for players in the far-flung league. She competed in the three-point shootout and won the girls' division, then squared off against the winner of the boys' side, Hurricanes' J.J. Jones, for the overall title.

"Before we shot, we shook hands and he said he would beat me," Holestine recalled. "He was nice about it, but then we shot and I won. It was pretty fun to win after hearing him say that."

Holestine will face even bigger challenges at West Virginia, which has a roster stacked at her expected position of two guard. She certainly isn't fazed by the prospect of competition, even though she knows she has improvements to make if she is to be a force in the Big East conference.

"Coach Carey told me it will be hard, so I know I will have to work as hard as I can. Whatever I work for I will have to earn. Obviously, I will have to earn my spot. He told me as long as I work I will get what I work for, and that's all you can expect. I know my ball handling has to get better, especially playing in the Big East. I know I will have to work on that.

"He told me we'll run a lot of five-out offense, and talked about how Meg Bulger gets her shots," she continued. "He likes an up and down pace, which I like too. I know I will have to get in better shape, but I think it will be a lot of fun."

Holestine's strengths should fit in well with West Virginia's attack. The Mountaineers struggled at key points last year with outside shooting, especially after Bulger was sidelined with her own knee injury, and anyone able to come in and hit jumpers will certainly have the chance to see playing time. Although Holestine has a long way to go to reach that point, there's no doubt her shooting ability will make her a threat in that arena.

"I think I can help with outside shooting," she said, as she envisioned a scenario where she sets up opposite Bulger to take advantage in defenses that obviously pay more attention to the All-American. "I need to work on releasing my shot a little higher, because players are taller and shots get blocked more in college."

Holestine averaged 22 points per game as a junior and followed that up with a 21.2 scoring mark as a senior. She was a two-time first team Class AAA all-state member, and a four-time all-conference first team selection.


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