Heart and Soul: Dinkins leading the way for USM

Heart and Soul: Dinkins leading the way for USM
The Mississippi High School Activities Association basketball playoffs are now in the semifinal round, and eight teams from the Pine Belt are trying to play their way into championship games. (Photo source: Raycom Image Bank)

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Whether in the 305 or the 601, the focus remains the same for Brittany Dinkins. It is a mindset that does not allow her to back down from any challenge. It is an energy that has ignited Southern Mississippi's women's basketball squad to a 7-1 start to the season.

"B Dink is my girl," USM junior guard Megan Brown said. "I love her so much. But she just comes. She got that Miami fire. She just comes with it every day, every practice. It shows up in the games,"

Dinkins doesn't deny her Miami flavor.

"That's who I am, 305 to my city," Dinkins said. "That's who I am. You say Mississippi State (next opponent). It's like so what, you know what I'm saying? And we're Southern Miss. And so I always took pride in whatever jersey or whatever team I was on. I always took pride in who I was defending. If they say this is the best player well, okay, I'm going to show you that I'm best with you."

Indeed it does. Dinkins, a 5-foot-7 senior, is proving to be one of the nation's best talents on both ends of the floor. She paces the Lady Eagles in scoring (18.9), assists (36) and steals (30).

Dinkins' 30 steals are good for a tie for seventh in the country. She's also 48th in scoring.

"It's not that I go out there every night trying to put a steals record (up) or trying to do an assist record or trying to score as many (points as I can)," she said. "I'm just doing whatever needs to be done for my team to be successful."

Dinkins has a natural feel for the game. She can dice up the defense with the drive or the pass. And as her numbers suggest, Dinkins is a terror for opposing ball handlers.

But the biggest focus for the energetic guard entering the season was more mental. During USM's media days Dinkins spoke on wanting to be one of the program's best leaders.

She seems to be living up to this.

"She has truly embraced her senior year. She really has," Lady Eagles coach Joy Lee-McNelis said. "All through B-Dink's career it's been a work in progress. It's been truly a process. It's been a journey. There's things she's had to learn along the way. There's things we've learned along the way.

"There's many times she probably felt like she couldn't do it anymore. But she stayed true to the course. My belief is when people stay true to the course and the choice that they've made good things are going to happen to them. Because there's going to be rewards. There will be rewards for those people if they work. And B Dink has busted her behind for all of these years and she deserves the best. And it's happening for her (in) her senior year."

USM will face perhaps its toughest challenge of the season when fifth ranked Mississippi State comes to Reed Green. You can expect to feel that Miami fire in the arena.

"Of course everybody is counting us out but that's alright," Dinkins said. "I'm up for a challenge. But I believe as well as my teammates believe that anything is possible. So I'm ready. I always look forward to this game."