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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Wildcat of the Week- McKena Barker

McKena Barker is a senior, leader, rebounding specialist and this week’s Wildcat of the Week. Photo credit: Caitlyn Young

McKena Barker is a Chico native that has been a part of the Chico State women’s basketball team since fall of 2014. She received her bachelor’s degree in public administration in spring 2018 and is currently working on her masters for public administration. In her previous season with Chico State, she received All-CCAA Honorable mention, which would be the second in her Chico State career. She led the Wildcats in rebounds for the third straight season and is ranked fifth in the CCAA overall. Barker has been remarkable since her freshman season, posting five double-doubles, which was more than any other Chico State player since 2007. She is currently a six-time CCAA All-American selection and has received three Division II Athletic Directors Association Academic Achievement awards.

When did you start playing basketball?

I started playing basketball when I was in second grade, so it’s been a while. I started young and was just playing in local leagues. I fell in love with it, so I just kept going.

Do you have any routines before a game?

My routine before a game, I eat a big meal, usually pasta like spaghetti. Then I usually listen to pump up music and just get hyped with my teammates. Nothing too crazy, just being around my team and getting excited.

How do you manage your time being a student athlete?

Being a student athlete is a lot of time management, you got to prioritize when you’re going to do homework, when you’re going to get into the gym and go to practice. So, usually I try to get my homework done before practice in the morning and, if I have stuff left over, I do it after practice at night. But mostly it is just setting a schedule and sticking to it.

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Chico State forward McKena Barker leads all Wildcats in rebounding. Photo credit: Caitlyn Young

What are you most excited about for the current season?

This season is going to be a huge one for our team. we got a great squad, everyone likes each other and we got great team chemistry. I am excited to get after it with these girls and play my last season with them. And hopefully bring home a conference championship.

As a senior on the squad how will you lead the team?

I think my role as a senior this year has been one that I kind of grown into. Just getting used to using my voice and helping the younger girls with what to do and where to go. I’ve been really focusing this year on always bringing energy and just being excited for every practice and every game. Then use that to help lead the team.

How did your mother and you start wearing matching socks on game day?

It happened last year she got me a new pair of socks for Christmas. Me and my brother actually got her a new pair of socks which were the same brand. It’s just a little tradition that we do, game day socks. So before the game. if she’s there, I look up at her and she lifts her pant leg up to show me that she is wearing her matching socks. It a little family thing we do and it gets me really excited for the game.

What’s your favorite thing about basketball?

My favorite thing about basketball is probably just the team dynamic. The way it feels after a big win, to just celebrate with all these girls that you worked really hard with. That feeling never goes away and it’s something that I really cherish.

Lucero Del Rayo can be reached at [email protected] or @del_rayo98 on Twitter.

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