ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — The South Carolina Gamecocks won their second NCAA National Championship in school history after defeating UConn 64-59 on Sunday. Rock Island native Brea Beal finished the game with two points, four rebounds and one block.
"We were just amazed, like wow she’s from Rock Island. She’s where I’m from, she played at the high school I played at," said Rock Island junior, Mariyah McQueen." Watching that and seeing that and seeing how she played, it was a good feeling to know that she’s where I’m from."
In high school, Beal was a McDonald's All American, Rock Island High School's all-time leading scorer, and the Western Big Six's all-time leading scorer.
"You have Brea's picture on our walls in our small gym. Like I said earlier, it is motivation because she is a hard worker and knowing that if you work that hard that dreams like that could possibly come true," added Lady Rocks junior Kayla Rice.
Beal was also a three-time Ms. Illinois Basketball and a three-time Gatorade Player of the Year.
"I don't think people realize how crazy it actually is, from the outside in. It's a really big deal for her and I know she puts in the work. It was a big deal, and really crazy to see that," said Rock Island junior Danee' Robinson.
Beal is only a junior at South Carolina and has already played in two NCAA Final Fours and one national title game.
"Brea in practice she always like played hard and went her hardest in practice and never slacked, and I feel like it always made us all better as a team. I'm just very proud of her, proud of who she is becoming, what she is doing, how she is representing Rock Island as a city," said former teammate Imari McDuffy.