Even though Stacey Barr is arguably the most well-known female athlete on the Idaho campus, she doesn’t dwell in the spotlight.
The senior guard on the Idaho women’s basketball team leads the Big Sky in scoring with 21.1 points per game. Barr, a Melbourne, Australia, native, has also played the second-most games in school history (123), is the program’s all-time leading 3-point shooter with 264 career 3-pointers made and is the school’s fourth leading scorer with 1,848 points.
It would be hard to learn any of this by just talking with Barr. Many times throughout the season she has said she doesn’t like talking about her scoring or about herself. She lets her play on the court do the talking.
“Stacey Barr, what can you say — one of the all-time great Vandals without a doubt,” Idaho coach Jon Newlee said. “I really believe she should be in the hall of fame here … after her career is done for all she’s done — WAC Player of the Year, putting us on her back and winning championships in Las Vegas. The year she’s had, her senior year, has been great for her.”
Barr is one of two seniors who will celebrate Senior Day Saturday against Idaho State in the Cowan Spectrum. She joins senior post Maren Austgulen, another international athlete to be honored Saturday as the season comes to a close. Barr said her parents and her older sister, who has never seen her play live as a Vandal, will be in the crowd during the final game.
The Vandals struggled during their first season back in the Big Sky and need some help to even make the conference tournament — something unusual for a team that won back-to-back WAC Championships in each of the last two years.
“I don’t think how many points I score really matters — it’s been a disappointing year, the position we’re in at the moment,” Barr said. “It’s not over, which is a positive. It’s not over until it’s over so hopefully we can turn it around and make it not so much of a disappointing year.”
Despite the discouraging year as a team, Barr has lived up to the Preseason Big Sky Player of the Year hype and made a strong case to be the conference’s 2014-2015 player of the year.
Newlee said it’s amazing what Barr has done this season since she’s had a target on her back the whole time as the preseason player of the year. She is often double-teamed and the focus of opposing defenses.
“No doubt in my mind that she’s the Big Sky Player of the Year,” Newlee said. “Usually, that award will go to somebody on the team that wins (the title) … but sometimes you have exceptional players and exceptional seasons where it’s not the norm to just do it. We’ll see what the coaches vote.”
Newlee said Barr has always been a quiet player, but leads by example on and off the court. He also said she is one of the two toughest players physically that he’s ever coached.
Teammate and junior post Ali Forde said both Barr and Austgulen have helped her and the other players through the difficulties of being an NCAA Division I athlete. She said she’s seen Barr grow through her years as a Vandal.
“I think, specifically this year, she’s stepped her game up a lot,” Forde said. “It’s been cool to see her develop over the years.”
In addition to her scoring and 3-point shooting accolades at Idaho, Barr will finish in Idaho’s top 10 in field goals made, free throws made, free throws attempted and rebounds no matter how Saturday’s game turns out.
“She’s played her best against the best and that’s how she needs to be remembered as one of the all-time great Vandals,” Newlee said.
Stephan Wiebe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org