March 12, 2020 at 4:48 p.m.
Brenna Wise will always remember that date.
“It changed my life,” she said.
That was when Wise, a Cranberry Township native, found out her collegiate basketball career was over.
Wise was a senior forward on an Indiana University women’s basketball team that was 24-8 and a likely high seed in the NCAA Tournament.
But the coronavirus pandemic abruptly wiped out the season.
Her final campaign in a long basketball journey full of hairpin turns, adversity and triumphs.
“Kind of everything I ever hoped for, wanted, worked for, dreamed of was stripped of me without a fight,” Wise said. “But you know what, everyone has their battle wounds. As I reflect, what’s going on now is bigger than basketball.”
It’s that kind of attitude that has made Wise a favorite everywhere she has been, from Vincentian Academy to the University of Pittsburgh for two seasons and then to the Hoosiers for three years, one spent as a redshirt.
She always has a smile on her face. She always asks how you are doing. She always has an infectious laugh.
Indiana and the NCAA have noticed.
Wise is Indiana University’s nominee for the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
The honor recognizes a standout female athlete who excels in athletics, academics, leadership and community service.
“First of all, I’m incredibly honored to even be amongst those women and those great names who have also been nominated,” Wise said.
Indiana women’s basketball coach Teri Moran took to Twitter to offer her support for Wise.
“She ain’t done yet,” Moran tweeted.
Wise finished her collegiate career with 1,421 points and 849 rebounds after a high school run at Vincentian that culminated with more than 2,000 career points and two PIAA Class A championships.
At Indiana, Wise was a two-time team captain, a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar.
She was also a two-time Big Ten Sportsmanship honoree and a top-10 finalist for the 2020 Senior CLASS award, given each year to one outstanding NCAA senior in women’s basketball and nine other sports.
Now, Wise is living with her family, which recently relocated to northern Virginia, and is giving basketball lessons to youth in the area.
Her clients range from the ages of 8 to 14.
“I call it the Wise Way Training,” Wise said, chuckling. “It’s a little pun, but it’s been fun and it’s been great. It gives me something to do.”
Another date may again change Wise’s life.
Nov. 1, 2020.
That’s when she’ll find out if she is the NCAA Woman of the Year.