Brittany Starling ’16 Enjoys Breakout Second Season in Belgian Professional League

April 10, 2018 at 2:45 pm

USC Upstate women’s basketball alumnae Brittany Starling recently completed her second professional season playing for Kangoeroes Willebroek in the Belgian League. Starling played at USC Upstate from 2012-16 and was the third player in program history to sign a professional contract.

Starling played in 22 of 23 games this season, averaging a team-leading 14.8 points per game as well as a team-best 8.7 rebounds per game. During her first professional season, Starling averaged 12.0 points per game and 7.9 rebounds per game.

“My first season I was still getting my feet wet, learning from those around me as well as from my own situations,” Starling explained. “This season I’m much more focused on my goals and doing what’s best for my career. I have a lot more confidence in my game.”

While basketball is a global game, there are some nuances in rules and the way that they are enforced that Starling has encountered playing in Europe compared to how the sport is played in the United States.

“The style of play can be similar to the United States in terms of pace, “Starling said. “It can be a run-and-gun type of game against some teams. In other ways it’s a lot slower. For example, you have to put the ball on the floor before you take off, otherwise it’s a travel. Players sometimes just walk right in the middle of the paint during free throws and it’s not a violation. Games are more physical over here, American players never get calls from officials and they foul incredibly hard.”

An additional challenge for Starling has been handling the off-the-court adjustment of being thousands of miles away from her hometown of Sumter, S.C. and missing out on events with family and friends.

“It’s definitely a challenge to be away from family,” Starling said. “You miss out on a lot of things, graduations, birthdays, births, etc. It really is hard sometimes.”

While at USC Upstate, Starling became the first player in school history and 10th in the ASUN to finish with 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. During her senior season, Starling was the only player to earn First Team All-Conference and All-Academic Team accolades. She is the program leader with 1,120 rebounds and fourth all-time with 1,533 points.

“Playing at Upstate helped me prepare for playing overseas because I learned how to adapt to any situation,” Starling stated. “I was the only starting freshman in college. I had to grow up quickly then, and had to do the same over here.”