Steamboat Springs When Brienna Combs brings her tough, inside game, it can leave opponents wounded.
In a fierce, one-on-one pickup game at Howelsen Park Wednesday, Combs left her male opponent with two cuts on his hand, and a bunch of aches and pains.
When she did not pull up and hit the long ball, she would dribble by the player and power inside for a basket, just as she did this season for the Sailors.
Combs, a 6-foot-1 post player who averaged about 14 points and 10 rebounds per game this season, is taking her physical style of play to Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., where she will play for the Warriors. She signed a letter of intent in November.
Combs ran over the competition this year while leading Steamboat to a regional playoff berth against Lewis-Palmer.
The Sailors finished the 2000-2001 season with a 13-10 record.
Combs suffered a torn labrum in her left shoulder during a game late in the season but still managed to dominate opponents when she returned to the court for the district playoffs.
Combs scored 15 points and pulled down seven rebounds against Lewis-Palmer in the regionals.
Westmont coach Gregg Afman, who played against Combs' father, Dave Combs, in the 1971 state playoffs, said he expects the new recruit to see a lot of action next year.
The 1970-71 Sailors boys team, which went on to win the state championship, defeated Afman's Denver Christian team, 76-61, in the first round of the playoffs.
Westmont, which is 22-11 this season, qualified for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Tournament at Jackson, Tenn., that starts March 14.
Combs says the recent success of the Warriors' girls basketball program helped play a major hand in her decision to enroll in the college.
Afman was amazed, he said, by Combs' abilities when he watched her play at a preseason tournament in Oregon City, Ore.
"I just really liked her as a person from the start," Afman said. "As I got a chance to see her play, I really liked her effort, her all-around game and her passing."
Combs said playing with the Sailors has helped elevate her game.
"I think it was a great season overall," Combs said. "We played our hearts out and although the end of it was sad, it was a great year.
"It was lots of fun," she said. "It helped me improve and will definitely help me for next year."