By Matt Gustus
In what is the winningest program in women’s Division II Basketball history, the Falcons have seen many extraordinary student-athletes pass through the program. The team is a perennial national contender and a force in the Northeast-10, which can be attributed to the numerous players that work hard to pass on the culture of success.
One student athlete in particular who recently received recognition was 2001 graduate Kelly Barker, who was acknowledged at Saturday’s home opener for her induction into the Northeast-10 Hall of Fame. Barker played center for Coach Barbara Stevens from 1997-98 to 2000-01. After starting in four games her freshman year, she was an everyday starter over the next three years as she started all but two games she played in.
The six-foot-one center was one of the most versatile Falcons of all time, as she could score in multiple ways. Her low post moves were unstoppable, as she shot better than 46 percent for her career from the field. However, what made Barker special was her ability to shoot from long range as well. Barker posted a career three-point percentage of almost 43 percent, which included seasons of 45 and 46 percent in her sophomore and senior seasons.
In the 2000-01 season, Barker was the Northeast-10 Championship MVP, leading her team to their fourth consecutive NE-10 Championship. In all four of those seasons, Barker appeared in over 30 games while helping her team also claim the NE-10 regular season titles.
The team also had success in the National tournament during Barker’s years, as the team advanced to at least the Sweet Sixteen every year. In her freshman and sophomore seasons, the Falcons advanced as far as the Elite Eight.
In her senior season, she received many personal accolades, including being honored as an All-American by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association as well being named a Co-Player of the Year for the NE-10. She was also picked as Bentley’s 2001 Outstanding Female Senior Athlete.
Statistically, Barker has put up some of the best numbers of any player in the history of the program. She currently sits atop the all-time scorers list with 1800 points. However, that record is in jeopardy this year as current senior Lauren Battista is closing in. Battista started the season needing only 298 points to surpass Barker. At her current rate of 17.2 points per game, Battista is on pace to eclipse the 1,800 mark in January.
Also, Barker is second in many categories, including career three-point percentage (.429), free throws made (490) and rebounds (1,120).
Prior to the Saturday’s 81-57 thrashing of Dowling, Barker was acknowledged by the school for her induction. Dean of students and Vice President for Student Affairs Andrew Shepardson presented Barker with a plaque commemorating her accomplishments before the game and spoke about her leadership and successes as a Falcon.