Brynna Maxwell Makes Her Mark on U Basketball


University of Utah freshman guard Brynna Maxwell (11) during an NCAA Basketball game vs. the University of Oregon at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020. (Photo by Jalen Pace | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Ethan Pearce, Sports Editor


Brynna Maxwell is the star freshman for the University of Utah women’s basketball team. She is leading the team in points per game at 12.3 and is second in minutes per game, free throw percentage and 3-point percentage. In just her first year with the Utes, she is already making a huge impact on the team.

From a small town north of Seattle, Maxwell came from a background in basketball.

“I’ve been playing basketball since I was about two years old,” Maxwell said. “Both my parents played in college, and I think that’s where I get my love for basketball. I remember shooting out in the driveway with my dad and just falling in love with it from the start.”

Growing up in Gig Harbor, Washington, Maxwell was very successful before coming to the U. She was named Washington Ms. Basketball as a senior and led her high school to a state championship, according to Utah Athletics. Maxwell was able to achieve success in high school thanks to her competitive drive and work ethic.

“It takes a lot of work. It’s not just handed to you,” Maxwell said. “You don’t have to go chasing the big name AAU programs, child programs. If you’re good enough, they’ll find you. My dad worked with me a lot on my shot. He was a great shooter. I think that’s where I get my shot from.”

“She just doesn’t back down from anything,” said teammate Daneesha Provo. “She’s fearless and she wants to win regardless of what it is.”

Maxwell knew that she wanted to come to Utah the moment they came calling. Once they showed interest, the decision was easy.

“They were the first school to start recruiting me. I got my first letter from them, my first offer, my first official visit was there. It just meant a lot that they were the first ones to believe in me,” Maxwell said. “They weren’t just a school that kind of hopped on the bandwagon. I believed in the vision Coach Roberts had for the program and the team’s amazing.”

She also really likes the whole atmosphere of Salt Lake City.

“I really like the city,” Maxwell said. “It’s not like most big cities — it’s really clean. The mountains are beautiful.”

The U proved to be a great place to play basketball. Maxwell is excelling in the program and still has three more years after this to keep playing and improving at Utah. Even as she leads the team in scoring, she still has room to get so much better. 

If she can just continue getting in the work, she’ll definitely develop to be one of the best players in this program, so if she can just keep doing that she’ll be fine,” Provo said.

Maxwell knows she wants to be involved with the game of basketball for the rest of her life. “My dream would be to play professionally, or coach. Something involving basketball. I want to be a sports analyst, coach or play professionally,” she said.

While she’s not quite sure what her life will be like after she leaves the U, she definitely knows what she wants to do while she’s here. “I want to make the NCAA tournament and I want to go far,” she said. “We have banners in our practice room that say Sweet 16 and Elite 8. I want to be able to put our name up there by the time I’m done. And also we want to be able to win the Pac-12 at some point.”

Maxwell’s game is fueled by determination and a will to win. There is nothing that will stop her from achieving her goals. She knows what she wants out on the basketball court and she knows how to get it. From teammates to coaches to family, they all say that she is one of the hardest working people out there. It shows in her play on the court, from leading the team in scoring as a freshman to making clutch plays to help close out wins.

Being in the Pac-12, she has an opportunity to really see some great players up close. Oregon, Stanford and Oregon State are all top-10 teams. Seeing them play and playing against them is sure to help Maxwell learn from the best.

In her short career at Utah so far, she already has picked out a highlight: “Beating BYU at BYU. That one was pretty special. Went to overtime, it was a crazy game the entire way. Dru [Gylten] hit some tough free throws, it was great. Silencing the crowd and everything.”

This is just the beginning for Maxwell. She will put in the work to get better and better every day. She has the possibility, and the likelihood, of being a real star for the Utes for years to come.

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