Katie Barker waited a full season to have a shooting night like she did against Marshall.
An injury at the start of last season caused her to miss it entirely. She saw her team achieve great things and all she could do was watch.
It took her until Ohio’s third game of the season, a 67-51 win over Marshall in The Convo on Wednesday night, to get back into her groove.
And she did it right after the opening tip-off.
Scoring 12 points and shooting 4-for-5 from behind-the-arc in the first quarter, Barker set the offensive tone for the Bobcats early. She ended as Ohio’s leading scorer with 18 points. Every shot attempt from Barker came behind the 3-point line and finished 6-for-12 from deep.
Barker knew that it was going to be a big night for her as soon as she made Ohio’s opening basket.
“After the first one went in, I just kind of felt it.”
Barker accounted for 12 of Ohio’s 22 points in the first quarter, and it was evident that once she got going, her teammates were looking for her. Coach Bob Boldon hopes that a game like Wednesday’s will lead to extended success behind-the-arc throughout the season for Barker.
“We have a lot of confidence in Katie,” Boldon said. “That’s certainly what she’s out there to do, is to make shots, she knows she out there to make shots. “
Confidence is the key word when it comes to Barker. She shoots well when she feels confident. Her confidence was shaken in the Syracuse game after she made just one shot on nine tries. She needed a game like the one on Wednesday to improve her confidence.
“That’s been a really big struggle for me through the summer and through this offseason, is just getting my confidence back,” Barker said. “Missing last year obviously wasn’t fun and it was really tough mentally, so for me to have confidence in myself is really big.”
Barker couldn’t maintain her first quarter efforts from the field throughout the rest of the game, and she only scored six points in the final three quarters. But establishing the threat of her perimeter shooting helped the offense around her.
The Herd switched their defense from a zone to player-to-player in order try to slow down the open looks Barker got. As a result, points in the paint came easier for the Bobcats and they began to rely more on inside scoring further into the game.
The key for both Barker and the Bobcats is getting this type of performance consistently as the season moves forward. If she can make a game like this a regular occurrence, Ohio’s already potent offense becomes that much more dangerous.
Wednesday was a step in the right direction for Barker.