Terae Briggs is as good as they come in the Mountain West. The senior post leads Nevada in double-doubles and is top 5 in the conference in a number of statistical categories.
What she brings to the table is always predictable, even though her journey to Reno was been unpredictable.
Terae, who has African American and Native American ancestry, grew up in Pryor, Montana, a town of less than 700 people on the Crow Indian Reservation.
"I remember going to school with my sister and being the only black kids," she said.
In the Treasure State, it's no secret, living on the Reservation has its challenges.
"drugs and alcohol is really big," Terae remembers of her time in Pryor. "After high school it seems a lot of people just go out drinking."
A path some of her friends took. But Terae had bigger plans for her future.
"I need to go out and do something with my life," she said.
And Terae did do something, with help from her family.
"They would say if you want to play basketball get your education while you're at it."
The offers weren't pouring in the way Terae hoped. But she knew the orange, leather ball she had been holding her entire life was her ticket to a better life. After a solid freshman season for United Tribes Technical College in North Dakota, Terae received an unexpected call.
"Jane called me in class and said she wanted me to visit," Briggs remembered.
Before long Briggs brought her talents to Reno to play for former Wolf Pack coach Jane Albright. After a couple seasons developing Terae's game went to another level when Nevada took a trip to Montana this season.
"It gave her an extra push, it definitely built her confidence to go home and play well," said Wolf Pack head coach Amanda Levens.
"It kind of brought me back to high school when my family would always be there and cheering really loud. I fed off of that," Terae remembered.
Terae's family dynamic hasn't changed. Her support system drove 14 hours to the Biggest Little City for her senior night – a sign of how much she means to them and her community.
"My nephews wore #23 because of me and when I had my number here last year 11, my niece wore it so it kind of makes me happy that they really do look up to me," she said.
"For her, I don't think it matters where you start a lot of the times. It's kind of where you get to," recalled Levens.
From the open fields on the Crow Reservation, to the mountains of the Sierra, Terae wants to be an example for all Natives who want to live their dreams.
"I'm going to do everything I can to help them as well," she added.
"If you're good enough, people will find you and you'll get an opportunity to play at the highest level and I think she's a great success story for that," Levens said.