CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The NBA's all-time leading shot blocker, former Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon, once said "blocking shots is an art, which is all about anticipation and timing."
Riverside sophomore center Brittany Wood is painting a pretty picture in the low post.
Wood has gained so much respect around the state as a shot blocker that saying opposing players adjust their shots would be a gross understatement.
A case in point would be that, by the second quarter of this week's game against Ripley, the Vikings were not just wary of taking shots in the paint. They quit even looking for them.
Still, the 6-foot Wood ended up with 10 blocks on the way to a triple-double that included 16 points and 13 rebounds.
"She's the best (post player) I have seen in the state," Coach Scott Garretson said. "Her game speaks for itself."
Wood is averaging 16.6 points, 12.2 rebounds and 7.0 blocked shots per game for the Warriors, all with opposing defenses concentrating on her and with an inexperienced backcourt trying to get her the ball.
It is not difficult to trace the roots of her success. While Olajuwon was nicknamed "The Dream," Wood is simply a dream to work with.
"She's very coachable and a great team player," Garretson said. "She dedicates herself year round to basketball and improves every day."
When Wood is not on the basketball court, she usually can be found studying.
She carries a 4.625 grade point average while taking Advanced Placement classes.
"I am the nerd in my family," Wood said. "School is something I love, just like basketball, and I take my grades very seriously."
A self-described "chunky little kid," she was pushed to get involved in sports when she was 8 years old to lose weight and get fit.
Considering her family background, basketball was the natural choice.
"Basketball runs in my family," Wood said. "My mother (Nichelle Payne) was an All-Stater at East Bank and my dad played for Valley."
Her grandparents also played, but in other states.