Former Devils star makes her first impression count

Caitlin Barker, above, leads a fast break for Emmanuel College. The former Plainville standout made an immediate impact in her freshman season.

Caitlin Barker, the three-time All CCC and All-State 1,159 point scorer for the Plainville girls basketball team certainly made a great first impression in her initial season of collegiate basketball for Emmanuel College in Boston, Mass.

“We started working out the first week of school in September,” said Barker. “Running, weight lifting, we have been together for six months but once the season started with the games it was so exciting.”

As a member of the Division III Saints, Barker hit for double-digits in four of her first 10 college contests. In her first game against St. Joseph of Brooklyn on Nov 16, Barker scored 9 points and pulled down 5 rebounds to help the Saints to a 111-67 win.

“I had no doubt that Caitlin would make an impact right away at the collegiate level,” said Plainville head coach Jess Neuweiler. “She just has a relentless work ethic, and that’s what you need to succeed at that level. She has a passion for the game and that helped her to meet the challenges of playing at the next level.”

Caitlin’s parents Cynthia and Steven got to see their daughter when she played against competition in Connecticut against Eastern Connecticut and Albertus Magnus. Barker said that family and friends will get another chance to see her play when Emmanuel takes on St. Joseph next year.

Neuweiler said Emmanuel College is always worth the ticket price. “When you think about Division III programs she is at one of the top programs,” said the coach. “For her to go in there and have the kind of impact that she’s had says a lot about the type of athlete that she is.”

In her third collegiate game Barker knocked down her first double digit game hitting for 13 points in a 66-48 win over Connecticut College. The former Plainville Blue Devil hit on 34 of 126 three-pointers for the season averaging 70 percent from the foul line and scored 153 points for a 5.5 average, sixth on the team in scoring.

“It took a little bit to get the mental aspect of the game under control, but my coaches trusted me and my teammates had my back,” said Baker. “To see how they responded to me really helped me and made all the difference.”

Barker scored a season high 16 points throwing down three straight 3-pointers turning a close 8-6 game against Milwaukee School of Engineering that sparked a 13-0 run, leading to a 76-34 win on Dec 29.

Two games later Barker scored a career high 18 points on Jan 8 in a convincing 87-48 victory over Salem State University. In the final regular season game she hit for her sixth double digit game scoring 14 in a 68-62 win over Lasell College on Feb 18.

Emmanuel College defended their Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship, the 17th conference title in program history under head coach Andy Yosinoff with 850 victories in his 42 years at the helm.

The Saints defeated Norwich University in the GNAC quarterfinals 65-39 with Barker logging eight minutes in her first post season game. Emanuel escaped Suffolk University 58-57 in the semifinals on Feb 27. In the championship win Barker worked eight minutes hitting a three-pointer in a 67-50 win over St. Joseph of Maine.

Emmanuel advanced to the NCAA Div III tournament for the 20th time in school history and ended the season on March 6 in a tough 81-62 loss against NYU in Brunswick, Maine.

“I feel overall our season went incredibly well,” said Barker. “We had our ups and downs. We did hit a rough spot but managed to pull together and go on a ten game winning streak.”

The Saints will graduate three seniors including their top two leading scorers Yuleska Ramirez-Tejeda 19.3 per game and Kayla Weaver 10.5 per game. That will open up a larger role for Barker entering her sophomore season as she works to improve on her 31 rebounds, 16 assists and 11 steals along with improving on her field goal shooting percentage.

“In the off season I want to work on extending my game even further,” said Barker. “Different types of pull ups, different types of drives and also improve my three-point shot. I’m very confident and I want to work on staying in that right mental attitude, and stay focused on the game. Making sure I’m always working to get better.”

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