Despite season-ending injury, Ford motors on

Barissa Ford, Webster women's basketball
Senior women’s basketball player Barissa Ford tore her ACL nine games into the season, but she still continues to impact the team.

In the ninth game of the Webster women’s basketball season, starting guard Barissa Ford tore her ACL and lost the remainder of her senior season. At the time of the injury, Ford was averaging nearly eight points and over three rebounds per game. In spite of the injury, Ford remains an important member of the team because of her willingness to be there for her teammates.
“She has been nothing short of awesome,” said junior forward Megan Willett. “Despite her injury, she comes to every practice and game. She is so passionate about basketball.”
Coach Jordan Olufson said his team sticks together on and off the court, epitomizing the meaning of “team concept.” Team goals come before individual goals.
“Barissa is all about the team and the team’s success,” Olufson said. “She is a model of what our program stands for. We are all about being a team and being there for each other.”
Ford talks to her teammates during games and at halftime to offer support and advice. Willett said it helps to get a player’s point-of-view and have another set of eyes during the game. The Gorloks have won four straight games and are 13-7 overall and 8-3 in SLIAC; good enough for third place.
“Barissa is a team player through and through and our silent leader,” Olufson said. “The team looks up to her and when she speaks, everyone listens.”
Ford injured her right knee during the WashU game on Dec. 18. It was a non-contact injury.
“I got a steal, went up for a lay-up and when I planted my foot I heard a pop and my knee gave out on me,” Ford said. “I knew the way my knee felt it was bad but I didn’t think it was an ACL injury. I was in excruciating pain though.”
The injured area around her knee needed to be straightened out before surgery could be performed. Ford attends physical therapy twice per week to prepare her for surgery. She will have the necessary surgery done in the next 30 days, and depending on the severity of the ACL tear, she could be out anywhere from three to six months.
Ford, a psychology major, transferred to Webster last season from the University of Missouri–St. Louis, and made an immediate impact on the team her junior year. She played in all 26 games and averaged 6.9 points per game. Olufson said she is a great defender, has good anticipation, finishes her shots well and has a great pull-up jump shot.
“Transferring to Webster was academically and athletically right for me,“ Ford said. “I was really impressed with the unity of the team when I arrived. Everyone cares about each other. It’s one of the best decisions I have ever made.”
Ford played basketball locally at Clayton High School, where her father Barry Ford coached her. She earned First Team All-Conference four times and was selected to three All-Metro teams in the St. Louis area.
“I loved playing for my dad,” Barissa Ford said. “It had its perks, but it could be difficult as well. I had to prove myself coming in as a freshman because I made the varsity team. I am sure people talked because my dad was the coach. I had to work twice as hard.”
Barry Ford enjoyed having his daughter on the team, and not just because they were related. She led her high school team in scoring, assists and steals during her four years at Clayton.
“Barissa has so many qualities on the basketball floor,” Barry Ford said. “She draws double teams, passes the ball well and has great quickness, but her best quality is she is a team player. In fact, I wish at times she was a little more selfish because she can be a great scorer.”
Because Ford was injured early enough in the season, she has the option of playing next year if she chooses to.
“I did get my year back, but it’s up in the air right now because I don’t know when I am going to graduate,” Ford said. “It’s probably better than 50-50 I’ll come back to play.”

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