The Crusader Online

February 22, 2008
Vol. 49 No. 16

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In the Limelight

Rookie aims to make playoffs

With one regular-season game left in her rookie season, freshman guard Erika Barron vows to push to the end with the playoffs in sight.

In what seems to have been and up-and-down season, the Susquehanna women's basketball team finds itself in a tie (for the last playoff spot in the Landmark Conference with Merchant Marine).

Much of this is because of the steady point-guard play of the first-year player.

For the season, Barron is second on the team with 7.5 points per game and leads the team in assists with 84, which is 50 more than second place. At 3.82 assists per game, Barron is currently ranked second in the conference in that category. She is also third in assists-to-turnover ratio at 1.05.

However, Barron looks past the statistical portion of her game in order to focus on one goal: making the playoffs.

"I hope we show up at our next game with a lot of desire and heart, win out and make the playoffs," Barron said. "Plus, individually, I'd like to play extra well and get everybody pumped up so the seniors have one last chance at making playoffs and going from there."

Her love for the seniors and hopes of their success does not go unnoticed, either.

According to senior forward Leigh Henderson, Barron is the prototypical point guard to have in the Crusaders' quick-paced offense.

"I think Erika's best contribution right now is being able to push the ball and dish to open teammates, and at the same time, having the ability to shoot from the outside,"

Henderson said. "Although she is smaller than most of the opponents she has to play, she has the speed and quickness that allow her to get past defenders and get open shots. She's also very determined and works hard every day."

It doesn't stop with her teammates, either.

Barron credits her family with keeping her motivated along the way. She said they -- mainly her grandfather -- are what kept her on the court with the ball in her hands at all times.

"My grandfather has been working with me since I was as young as I can remember, teaching me all the fundamentals and taking me to the courts every day for hours when I was really young," Barron said. "I just continued on from then loving to play the game and bettering myself."

Like most other athletes, giving up the sport they truly love is one of the hardest things to do. This is especially true for Barron, who knew she had to continue playing basketball in college no matter what the circumstance.

"I continued basketball in college because I can really never see myself just putting a stop to playing basketball," Barron said. "I have such a great passion for the game and never want to put the rock down."

The motivation and dedication earned her a starting spot this year for the Crusaders as a freshman, a goal she had in mind from day one.

"I knew there were positions to fill in the starting line up, but I knew I had to work hard to earn a starting spot; it wasn't just given to me," Barron said. "Working hard, dedicating myself and having love for the game earned me the starting spot."

This has been to the benefit of the women's basketball team this year. The team looks to qualify for the Landmark Conference playoffs. If Susquehanna can beat Juniata tomorrow and Moravian loses to Scranton, Susquehanna will grab the fourth seed in the Landmark.

"My expectations coming into this season involved a lot of excitement and just looking forward to a good first year," Barron said. "I knew it was going to be different from high school, but with all the hard work over the summer and in the preseason, I felt prepared."

That hard work and excitement has the Crusaders in the thick of the playoff chase and looking for a conference championship.

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