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Basketball: Lambert freshman Elder shares special connection to WNBA
Briley Elder
Lambert freshman Briley Elder attempts a free throw Tuesday during the Longhorns’ 65-30 loss to Forsyth Central. - photo by David Roberts

Briley Elder can shoot the three.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise; all of her sisters can.

Elder, a freshman at Lambert, has carved out a role on the Longhorns’ girls basketball team as a deadeye shooter this season.

She scored 37 points last month during a 53-32 win against Milton, knocking down a school-record eight 3-pointers. It was part of a three-game stretch where Elder scored a combined 92 points and Lambert won two out of three games.

“I’m certainly glad we have her, because she can score and we have a hard time scoring it,” Lambert head coach Brian Moon said. “She’s someone that teams have to prepare for, I guess you can say. If you haven’t seen us play, she’s going to knock down open shots.”

Elder has three sisters, two of whom played college basketball: Rachel Greenwell and Rebecca Greenwell.

Rachel played basketball at Bellarmine University, while Rebecca was an All-ACC guard at Duke University before being drafted into the WNBA in 2018 by the Washington Mystics.

“I’ve watched her play basically since I was born,” Elder said of Rebecca. “She’s influenced me a lot and I’ve looked up to her my whole life.”

Rebecca wrapped up an illustrious career at Duke, where she broke the single-game record with eight 3-pointers made and set a school record with 301 career 3-pointers.

She was drafted in the third round of the WNBA draft but hasn’t appeared in a game because she underwent knee surgery.

“Right now, she’s living with us, because she’s rehabbing a knee injury right now. So, until her season starts back up, she’s living with us and working for the Atlanta Hawks,” Elder said. “So, I got to see her for a good couple months now, which has been really nice, because I haven’t been able to see her a lot.”

Elder hopes to break some of her sister’s records, and she’s leveraged the opportunity of living with a professional basketball player into honing her craft and shooting around with her sister.

“She hit 17 threes in one game, so that’s the record I hope to break one day,” Elder said.

While she still has plenty of room for improvement, Elder has been a pleasant surprise for Moon, who is coaching a largely inexperienced team in his first season as Lambert’s girls basketball coach.

“She’s really confident,” Moon said. “I’ll tell you what the greatest thing is, we’ve got three seniors and four juniors, and they all really respect her. There’s no jealousy or that sort of thing that sometimes I think you can run into on teams. Our kids are figuring out their roles a little bit, and they know her role is to score for us. I think it makes it a little easier.”

Another player who has figured out her role is senior Riley Stevens, a guard who Moon has tasked with leading the Longhorns’ defense.

“She’s kind of taken on the best player, kind of challenged her to guard people that a lot of times can be a little bit bigger than her,” Moon said. “She’s kind of become our person that we say, let’s put her on her and see if we can try to shut that girl down a little bit. She’s done a good job with that.”

Elder, who lived in Kentucky and North Carolina before moving to Forsyth County last year, figures to be a mainstay for Lambert over the next three seasons.

And if her freshman season is any indication, expect plenty more points from Elder.

“I’ve always had the leadership mentality, just to do what I do and play my best,” Elder said. “So, I’ve always known I was going to be a contributor. I just had to play my game and I would get seen, so that was really my thought going into the season.”