Pair of Seniors Look to Lead Lady Raiders|
Oct. 25, 2011
by Holly Kitten
The interesting part is they played together.
As children, the two competed in the same summer league for a few years.
"We used to have sleepovers," Barncastle said. "We go pretty far back."
Eventually though, as the pair grew up and began playing high school basketball, they lost touch. Mallard went to Frisco, and Barncastle went to Martin's Mill, two Texas towns which are about 100 miles apart from each other.
Little did they know they would end up on the same court, again.
This time, it would be as teammates at Texas Tech.
Now, the teammates are the lone seniors on the Lady Raider basketball team, which last season, reached the NCAA tournament for the first time in six years.
Having high ambitions for the upcoming months, Barncastle said she is excited to take on her new leadership role as a senior. She hopes the team will not only make it to the NCAA tournament again, but that they will win a Big 12 Championship, too.
In order to do that, Barncastle said there is a key element the team and she are trying to promote.
"A lot of our problems that we do have involve communication and it's just mental errors," Barncastle said. "I think us becoming more vocal and better communicators will eliminate a lot of those problems."
Mallard said Barncastle has stepped up to that idea, and does a good job in leading the team to do the same.
"I see Jordan now, and she's talking more than she ever has," Mallard said. "She's trying to encourage us and she's a motivator. She likes to bring everybody back up."
Head coach Kristy Curry said she noticed a change in both the seniors, be it in drills, or five-on-five.
"Her [Barncastle] and Kierra have done a great job with being consistent day-in and day-out with their work ethic, and their values, and how vocal they are," Curry said. "[They are] just consistently communicating with their teammates."
With only one freshman on the roster this year, Barncastle said it feels natural to be more vocal with the team, which has worked together for so long.
The communication is especially easy between her and Mallard, she said.
"I think we've both had the same goals in mind and want the same results," Barncastle said, "It's easy to correlate with someone who's on the same page."
Curry said the commitment shown by Barncastle and Mallard is the same level of commitment the rest of the team exhibits. During their summer workouts, not one player missed a day.
That determination is going to pay off later in the season, Curry said.
"They've all improved in the off-season because of the time they put in," Curry said. "I feel like we have an opportunity this year to be the surprise team in this league. If we can stay healthy and stay together, good things are on the horizon for them."
Staying together will be no problem for Barncastle and Mallard. After all, they managed to do so through all these years.
Although Curry was unable to watch them play as fifth graders, she said she is excited to see them evolve into senior leaders on the court.
"They really have each other's back," Curry said. "It's like two sisters. It turned out being pretty neat that they were able to play together at an early age, and now, they're going to be able to finish their collegiate careers together."