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Local daughter off to WNBA

By KELLIE DIXON
Published April 5, 2007


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Bernice Mosby laughed.

Hours earlier, the former Hernando standout had heard her name called. She was selected in the first round of the WNBA draft (sixth overall) by the Washington Mystics.

But later Wednesday afternoon, sitting in the Cleveland Hopkins Airport, the news still hadn't sunk in. All the 6-foot-1 Baylor forward could do was laugh when she thought about how far she has come.

"It's just like a blessing, a fairy tale," Mosby said. "Another person in my position would have quit or just stopped. But perseverance is one of the main things you have to have. God just gave me perseverance and the strength to do what I've done."

In a word, Mosby has achieved. She has gone from the blacktop courts of her childhood in Brooksville where pride was the only reward, to the polished hardwood where a paycheck is promised. Mosby will make around $40,000 in her rookie season. She could pick up bonuses for making the all-star team ($2,500) or being named rookie of the year ($5,000).

Mosby is the highest draft pick to come out of Brooksville. Her cousin, Jerome Brown, was chosen in the first round (ninth overall) in 1987 by the Philadelphia Eagles. She also is the first female athlete to reach the pros since Springstead's Jenny O'Sullivan, who played soccer for the New York Power.

But getting to this point hasn't been easy for Mosby. She was suspended and eventually dismissed from Florida, and she had to sit out a year before she was eligible to play at Baylor.

The transfer translated into the evolution of Mosby's game and growth in maturity. She kept her spunk on the court, but paid attention to her coaches. She also rebuilt her body to become an inside presence for Baylor and averaged 17.6 points and 9.1 rebounds as a senior.

Back in Brooksville, the Jerome Brown Community Center buzzed with excitement Wednesday. Mosby's grandfather, Willie Brown Jr., had watched the draft on television. "Every time one of (the kids) comes in, I show them a picture and let them see she is an example," he said. "She reminds me of Jerome, my son. He made it."

The first person Mosby called after being drafted was her mom. The two cheered the news, which was especially welcome after the loss of her mom's house to a fire recently. "She was happy," Mosby said. "At first she was like happy, and then she just started praying and spitting out Bible verses."

Mosby finds out this week when to report to Washington and excitement is high.

"I think we'll see that she'll continue to grow in the WNBA," said Jon East, Mosby's former AAU coach. "I think we haven't seen yet how good she can be."

Staff writer David Murphy contributed to this story.

Correction

Anna Gray from Hernando High won the 1,600 meters at Tuesday's Hernando County Athletic Conference meet with a time of 6:04. The results listed another runner first.

[Last modified April 4, 2007, 21:36:18]


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