STILLWATER — Following Thursday's practice, Oklahoma State guard Brittney Martin popped out her mouth guard.
She needs that extra protection now, after having a pair of teeth cracked and knocked out by the Gallagher-Iba Arena floor in the Cowgirls' last game against Stephen F. Austin.
Getting those teeth fixed was one of the more recent challenges facing the true freshman. But Martin has already become a solid contributor for the No. 16 Cowgirls (7-0) in her first season, averaging nine points and 5.9 rebounds per game heading into Sunday's contest against Vermont in Stillwater.
Martin talked with The Oklahoman about how she's adjusting to college basketball, her excitement for Big 12 play and, yes, her recent dental work.
What happened on the play that knocked your teeth out?
“I tipped the ball, and I thought I could get it if I dove for it. So I dove into (SFA's Antoinette Carter), and I guess she fell over me and she just sat on my face and my teeth went right into the floor.”
It seemed like it took a while for everyone else to realize what had happened.
“I probably should have kept playing, but my teeth were in my hand. The game was still going, but I just walked off the court and was like, ‘My teeth are gone.' And everyone just looked at them and were like, ‘Oh my goodness.' They looked horrendous. I cried when I saw what they looked like. Not the pain, just what they looked like. It was so ugly.”
How'd you get them fixed?
“The dentist came running in the training room, and he was like, ‘Does anybody need a dentist in here?' I was like, ‘My teeth are gone.' He was like, ‘We gotta go. We've got to get in there.' I cracked the whole front of (one) tooth, so it just split, so the nerve was broken and everything. He was like, ‘We've got to go right now, or else your tooth is going to die. He numbed me up right when I got in there and I didn't feel anything until late, late that night. I had never had a root canal before, and that's what they had to do to my front tooth. That's what hurt the worst. The next morning hurt more than anything, but medicine cures everything.”
You're now about a month into your first season. How is it going so far?
“The defense is kind of what was really different than high school. I can't say I never played defense in high school, but I didn't play it like we have to play in Division I. You don't know what it's like until you get here. I think defense is what I really struggle with a lot right now.”
You said after your first game that you were nervous about playing at Gallagher-Iba Arena for the first time. Have those emotions calmed down at all?
“First game, I was so scared. I came out there and I didn't even know what to do. In my mind I was just like, ‘When in doubt, what am I supposed to do? Shoot it, right?' That's the only thing I could think of. The nerves kind of went down, just because I love our fans here. They're all so nice to everybody. I feel comfortable now, but I guess when we go out of state and stuff, I've got to see how's that's going to work out when no one's cheering for you.”
Big 12 play starts Jan. 2. What have your teammates and coaches been telling you about what to expect?
“They've been saying that people pressure a lot (on the wing). It's going to be a lot harder to pass. It's going to be a lot harder to drive. I guess they're just saying it's going to be a lot harder, because everybody is good. It's not just like high school, where one person on a team is good. You have to learn how to get open. You can't just stand around. I'm just excited to get into conference play.”