By Nathaniel Lastrapes |Staff Writer|
Some student-athletes lose track of the important things in life but not the starting point guard of the Coyotes women’s basketball team, senior, Briana Baker.
The 21-year-old was born in Compton, California and was raised in Rancho Cucamonga. She grew up with a passion for basketball and eventually went on to play varsity at Rancho Cucamonga High School.
Baker fell in love with the game when she was in fifth grade and credits her father for her love of the game, “he was really passionate about basketball, so I gravitated towards basketball. He coached me and he coaches my brothers now.”
She remembers running on the court as a young child at her father’s basketball games trying to play with grown men and the rest is history.
Baker epitomizes the student-athlete. Aside from being the team’s point guard, a position typically regarded as the leader of the team, Baker delivers impressive stats on and off the court.
The most impressive stat that Baker has maintained over her career at CSUSB is her 3.8 grade point average. She regards herself as the “geek” of the team because whenever a teammate needs some help with homework, even personal matters, Baker is always there to assist them and give them good advice.
Baker’s favorite thing about basketball is the team aspect, “your team is like your family. You have each other’s back throughout every game. It’s family-oriented,” said Baker.
Time management is essential for every student-athlete, and Baker is no exception to the rule. When she is not practicing, playing in games, or attending class, she likes to spend time with her family and eat cookie dough ice cream.
Baker was recruited heavily in high school by Princeton University, UNLV, Idaho State, and Concordia University, but decided to stay closer to home and play basketball at CSUSB.
Baker’s family is incredibly important to her and she shares an especially strong connection with her mother.
She said her mother is the most influential person in her life because, “She is a very determined, driven woman. She’s very optimistic and doesn’t let anything bother her and leaves everything in God’s hands. I just want to be more like her,” said Baker.
Baker’s leadership qualities are not limited to off the basketball court. As the starting point guard, the team looks to her as a leader on the court who is responsible for orchestrating the offense and setting the tone on defense.
Her favorite thing to do on the court is lead the team on defense, getting in her opponent’s personal space and generating energy for the team.
So what types of pre-game rituals does a leader like Baker participate in?
“I like to put on my make-up.” She also mentioned that she has to listen to “Lose Yourself” by Eminem before every game because it gets her pumped up for the game.
So what’s next for the starting point guard? Baker plans to pursue her Master’s degree in Counseling at Princeton University.
Baker will thrive in any career path that she chooses because of her experiences at CSUSB and her incredible work ethic.
With the correct balance of basketball, school, and family, Baker has figured out a formula for success and happiness.