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GWINNETT GRADS: Berkmar's Harvey a star for Brenau basketball team

Kris Stewart remembers one particular game, an important one vs. Southern Wesleyan, pretty fondly from last season, his first as Brenau University's head women's basketball coach.

In pre-game warmups, he hit then junior Gabby Harvey with a simple question.

"Are you ready to play?" the coach said.

He got a simple answer, too.

"You'll see," Harvey said.

The former Berkmar standout grabbed a school-record 25 rebounds that February night, breaking her own record of 22. It's the kind of effort that the coach is used to seeing out of Harvey, a versatile performer whose contributions to the Brenau team are numerous.

"Gabby is our jack-of-all trades," said Stewart, a 1993 Duluth grad. "We ask her to do a lot of things. She handles the ball some. She posts up some. She plays defensively inside and out. We ask a lot of her for her team."

Harvey leads the Golden Tigers in scoring (12.9), rebounding (11.8), assists (3.6), steals (1.8) and blocks (1.4). Ideally, she's a full-time small forward. But she plays everywhere from point guard to post for Brenau, and a defensive skill set that lets her guard anyone on the floor.

While she generally stuffs the stat sheet, Harvey gets the most attention for her rebounding total, which ranks third nationally among NAIA Division I players. A guard at Berkmar, she relies on strength and athleticism on the glass against taller players.

"It's about effort on the offensive and defensive ends," the senior said. "It's about coordination and strength because there are going to be girls that are taller than you. Then it's about effort."

Her coach has no complaints in that regard.

"It's impressive for someone her size -- she's just under 5-foot-9 -- it shows a lot about her athletic ability and willingness to play hard," Stewart said.

Harvey began her college career at Tusculum (Tenn.), but transferred to Brenau after one season to get closer to home. She averaged 8.1 points and 8.1 rebounds as a sophomore, then 9 points and 10.8 rebounds last season.

Her statistics, particularly her scoring, have increased even more in her final college season.

"With this being my senior year and being one of the older girls, being chosen as captain, I had to step up as a role model and a go-to person," Harvey said. "We want to go to conference, that's only happened a few times in Brenau history, and have a winning season."

Harvey's commitment to basketball hasn't stopped her from staying busy otherwise. The full-time student works 20 to 25 hours per week at Radio Shack and works many weekends when basketball doesn't conflict.

She's also co-editor of the Brenau yearbook.

"It used to be hard, but I've gotten kind of used to (the hectic schedule)," said Harvey, who begins student teaching this month at her old school, Sweetwater Middle, and expects to graduate May 3 with a middle grades education degree.BASKETBALL

Williams passes 1,000-point milestone

Mill Creek grad Tia Williams, a senior at Limestone College (S.C.), passed the 1,000-point scoring mark for her career this week during her team's win over North Greenville.

Williams had game highs of 16 points and seven rebounds in the victory. The 5-foot-7 guard averages 14 points and 3.9 rebounds this season.

Alverson tops 1,000 career points

Auburn senior Blanche Alverson scored her 1,000th career point Thursday night in the Tigers' win over Ole Miss.

The Buford grad had 23 points, making 9 of 14 shots and 5 of 9 from 3-point range, and had a game-high nine rebounds. She also had four assists and two steals.

Alverson also had 17 points on 6 of 13 shooting in the Tigers' previous game vs. Missouri.

Armstrong misses UGA game

Wesleyan grad Anne Marie Armstrong sat out Georgia's 95-83 victory at Alabama on Thursday night because of a minor ankle injury.

Armstrong hurt the ankle during a practice, but isn't expected to miss significant time. She warmed up with the team in Tuscaloosa and could have played if needed.

Fast break

Berkmar grad Teanna Robinson had 10 points on 5 of 6 shooting and 12 rebounds last weekend, helping Mercer to a 71-46 win over Kennesaw State. ... Peachtree Ridge grad Brittany Jack, after transferring from Samford, is contributing to her new program Alabama, which gave her a full scholarship. The sophomore has played in every game this season with one start. ... Georgia College and State University lost on the road last weekend to North Georgia, but GCSU guard and Brookwood grad Nate Hamilton had 15 points in just 13 minutes off the bench.

Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via email to will.hammock@gwinnettdailyposd