The Paint Branch High School coaches had a plan for their top reserve in the 2008 girls’ basketball state championship game.

Let scrawny 14-year-old Brene Moseley get her feet wet before quickly taking her out. Then, two minutes later, put her back on the floor and watch her make an impact.

It worked. She scored off the break and with her jumper. Soon, the Panthers were hoisting the trophy.

Years later, Moseley assumed a similar role with the Terrapins women’s basketball team, her home-state program. Moseley, who grew up about 20 minutes away from College Park in Burtonsville, won the Big Ten coaches’ Sixth Player of the Year award while contributing to a No. 5 Terps team looking to win its second straight Big Ten tournament title this weekend.

Her path from talented teenager to a veteran leader of a top-five squad didn’t come without roadblocks, though. Two major knee injuries set Moseley back when she tried so hard to move forward. And when she was healthy, at least in college, playing time sometimes proved hard to come by.

But Moseley kept smashing through the obstacles. She came back stronger.

The memories of those hardships help her realize what it means to chase an NCAA title with her home-state team.

“I’ve always wanted to bring a championship back home, and to be able to [try to] do it in my home state is like, it’s a dream come true,” Moseley said as a tear trickled down her left cheek. “I’m just thankful I’m able to be in this position. It’s a blessing to be able to do this.”


As a preteen, Moseley would sit in the back seat of her father’s car as he drove her brother, Esheance, to various sporting events.

She quickly grew tired of the role.

“One day she came up to me and said, ‘Daddy, this isn’t fair. You always put him into things, but you don’t put me in anything,'” Moseley’s father, Eugene, said. “I really wasn’t thinking about putting her into sports or anything, but she approached me.”

She later came to Eugene asking to join an AAU team, which kicked off her basketball career and showed at a young age her potential to play at a high level.

In the last minute of an all-star game, Moseley began to take over. She drained a few 3-pointers. She made all her foul shots. Eugene scratched his head as he watched his daughter’s dominant performance. Later on, he made sure to make a note in his journal: “I got to keep an eye on her.”

When Moseley was 13, she caught the eye of Paint Branch High School women’s basketball coach Heather Podosek. During the team’s summer league games in 2007, Podosek realized she had a unique player.

She was scrawny yet determined, goofy yet productive.

And by the time Moseley was set to start high school, Podosek knew she could be a major contributor going forward.

“She definitely had game,” Podosek said. “I think it is still a compliment and I know some people might not think of it that way, but she handled the ball like a dude. She played with guys all growing up, and she had mad handles, and that was when … you knew there was something special about her coming into her freshman year.”

Then-freshman Brene Moseley smiles with her teammates after winning the Maryland girls’ basketball state championship with the Paint Branch Panthers. (Photo courtesy of Eugene Moseley)


It was in April 2010 when Podosek received an unexpected phone call from Terps coach Brenda Frese.

“[Frese] was sitting in the bleachers, and [Moseley] was still on the court,” Podosek recalled. “Brenda called me and said, ‘I’ve got some bad news.'”

Playing one of her first games with the Boo Williams AAU team, Moseley went up for an uncontested layup but fell to the floor afterward. With the teen lying on the court, Frese called Moseley’s high school coach.

“She goes, ‘We’re hoping for the best, but I don’t know,'” Podosek said.

Moseley’s first thought was that she’d be able to play the next day, but she couldn’t even walk 24 hours after the injury. About a week later, the doctor revealed she had torn her right ACL, ending Moseley’s high school career before her senior campaign started.

“She plays a physical game even though she’s normally the smallest on the court, so I was so used to seeing her bounce back up after she fell,” Eugene said. “This time, she didn’t get back up.”

The injury came after a stellar junior season, one in which Moseley led the DMV area in scoring at 26.2 points per game. The Washington Post named her First Team All-Met, though many around the Paint Branch program thought she should have been Player of the Year.

But after falling short of a championship, Moseley was more concerned with finishing her high school career with a state title.

She prepared by joining Boo Williams to play against some of the best players in the country. After a few games, that opportunity vanished.

“That hit me hard. You’re bringing back these bad memories,” Moseley said after practice at Xfinity Center on Feb. 24. “I put so much time into it. … I wanted to be able to play against the best.”


The Terps never wavered in their pursuit of the point guard, something Moseley said “sealed the deal” for her.

But Podosek said a lot of people locally thought she wouldn’t be able to make it at a high-major Division I program. They thought the Terps were too big for “Bones,” who earned that nickname as a kid because of her wiry frame.

Bones just kept working.

In the months that followed, Eugene would drive from his job in Virginia to take his daughter to physical therapy in Silver Spring. Moseley committed to the Terps in October, becoming the only member of the 2011 recruiting class, but the recovery process wasn’t over.

Moseley returned to the court the summer before her first season in College Park, yet she wasn’t fully healthy until around Christmastime.

Even so, the spark plug from down the road played in all 36 games as a freshman — she averaged 6.9 points in 17.4 minutes — for a team that won the ACC Championship and advanced to the Elite Eight.

When a reporter asked what stood out the most during her career, Moseley immediately referenced that season. It was a thrill to contribute for the program she grew up rooting for.

“It was kind of surreal,” Moseley said. “Usually that stuff is like a dream come true, but it’s like I never saw it happening.”

Podosek always had faith in her former player because of her work ethic and mentality. She said Moseley loves the game more than kids playing today do, which helped Moseley bounce back from her first major injury and silence the doubters.

“There’s a level of, like, ‘I will go through that wall to beat you,’ kind of thing, and then, ‘Eh, maybe I’ll figure out how to get around the wall,'” Podosek said. “She just wanted to destroy you and your entire team, and this is how [she’s] going to do it. And that’s been really fun to watch.”

Brene Moseley prepares to sign her papers to play for the Terps. (Photo courtesy of Eugene Moseley)


Moseley looked on from the bench her redshirt sophomore season as former guard Lexie Brown took over the starting point guard job five games into her freshman campaign. The No. 3 point guard according to ESPN’s HoopGurlz would become a first-team All-Big Ten performer and lead the Terps to back-to-back Final Fours.

For Moseley, having to accept a smaller role compared to her first year in College Park was tough.

Tougher than the torn ACL that deprived her of her final year at Paint Branch, and tougher than her sophomore season, which she missed after tearing her other ACL going up for layup in a team scrimmage on Oct. 21, 2012.

She struggled to adapt, which began affecting her demeanor.

“I had to have a daddy-daughter talk with her about her attitude,” said Eugene, who chuckled afterward. “Initially, the attitude was not healthy.”

But over time, she realized she needed to make sacrifices for the good of the team.

She began helping her squad in other ways while playing 12.5 minutes per game over those two seasons. She talked to players when they were struggling. She ensured the team stuck together during tough times.

It was no longer about her.

“That’s just who Bones is,” center Malina Howard said. “She’s one of the kindest, sweetest, hardest-working people I’ve met in my life. Her heart is just always in it.”


Brown transferred to Duke the summer before this season to be closer to her family in Suwanee, Georgia, leaving the door open for Moseley and fellow senior Chloe Pavlech to run the Terps offense.

Pavlech has taken over as the starter — the only time Moseley cracked the starting lineup this season was Senior Night on Feb. 28 — but Moseley has commanded the attention of opponents thanks to her offensive efficiency off the bench.

Guard Brene Moseley sinks a 3-pointer when the Terps defeated Indiana, 86-63, at Xfinity Center on Jan. 30, 2016. (Karen Tang/The Diamondback)

In 22.4 minutes per game, Moseley ranks third on the team in scoring and leads the Terps in assists. Her assist-to-turnover ratio, meanwhile,leads the Big Ten and ranks 13th-best in the nation.

Guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, the team’s leading scorer, called it a “blessing” to have Moseley as a point guard. Walker-Kimbrough said sometimes her attempts feel like practice shots because she’s so open.

“Everything she does embodies what it means to put on the Maryland uniform,” Frese said.

Moseley, who has accumulated 985 career points, likely will become the 32nd player in Terps history to eclipse 1,000 this weekend when her team travels to Indianapolis for the conference tournament. Plus, she recently earned second-team All-Big Ten honors by the coaches.

She’s achieved success close to where her basketball career began despite going through two major injuries and adjusting to a limited role.

Sitting in Xfinity a day before the final regular season-game of her career, Moseley tried to describe what she’s been able to accomplish throughout her time in the red, white, black and gold.

She could only come up with two words.

“It’s special. It’s special,” Moseley said before taking a long pause.

“It’s special.”