A 3 For The Road: Krystal Barrett
- Name: Krystal Barrett
- Age: 22
- Organization: NC State, Skyline High, DFW Elite
Author: Patrick Kinas, DNAOfSports.com creator.
(Photo: Krystal Barrett (#12). Photo courtesy: Greg Mintel.
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Her career was over. That fateful moment when NC State's Krystal Barrett went down with a torn ACL on December 19th against the Davidson Wildcats. The senior from Dallas, hoping to lead the Wolfpack to consecutive NCAA appearances, would have surgery two week later. Her season would be shifted from a captain on the court to a cheerleader on the sideline. There would be no more driving. No more defending. No more scoring. She would finish with 767 career points.
Then came Senior Day.
"The conversation between Coach Moore and I started a couple weeks before senior night," Barrett said. "I had been at practice shooting and doing ball handling to make myself better and I had joke with Coach Moore about me spotting up on the three point line and shooting a three on senior night. I was very serious and determine to make the basket when my moment came during the game, so at practice every day I would shoot so that when my opportunity was present I was able to make my dream a reality."
Barrett's resolve in those words are indicators of her immense growth during her time in Raleigh.
Her seriousness was evident.
"I told him and everyone else during practice I was going to shoot the ball soon as a touched it."
The Senior Day opponent was 4th-ranked and twice-beaten Notre Dame.
As fans entered to celebrate the two outgoing Wolfpack seniors, with Len'Nique Brown the other, they may not have noticed that Barrett was dressed in full uniform for the first time since December. If they picked up on that subtle hint, maybe they thought she donned the threads one last time because of Senior Day. After all, Barrett still wore the brace on her right knee and walked with a cautious gate.
"During the game, I was excited and cheering for my teammates but I also knew the entire game at some point I was going to be entering the game with only being outta my surgery for six weeks. During the timeout before I actually got into the game I remember talking with Ashley Williams about getting into the game. I was joking with her about how I had been sitting on the bench this entire game and I didn’t know how I was going to go into the game and try to shoot a three pointer on one leg."
As the game continued, the Wolfpack battled the Irish. NC State trailed by just six at the half. As the minutes dwindled in the second half, the game was still tight.
Even if Coach Wes Moore wanted to insert Barrett into the game, upsetting the Irish was still paramount. But the Irish pulled away to a 14-point lead with three minutes to play, and despite NC State's efforts, the major upset was not in the cards.
Then Barrett's last moment arrived with exactly 24 seconds remaining in the game and NC State trailing 67-57. The outcome was foregone.
The history, however, was just about to be written.
"The final minutes when Coach Moore told me to check in I had a ton of different emotions inside. I had to tell myself that this is what I had been practicing for and that this was my moment to make memories and do what I haven’t been able to do since I tore my ACL, which was play in a game again. I had a little nerves but they went away when I entered the game."
The shocked Reynolds Coliseum crowd roared as Barrett checked in.
Moore's instructions were simple.
"The plan was for me to shoot the ball. I was going to shoot the ball where ever I was on the court whether it went in or not.
Irish head coach Muffett McGraw knew enough of Barrett's story to help make the magic happen. NC State brought the ball up the court, with a one-legged Barrett standing stationary along with Wolfpack sideline.
The pass came to Barrett as the seconds ticked away.
The Irish could've defended and closed out. Instead, the Notre Dame defense didn't budge.
"Notre Dame was nice enough to give me a good look and I made the basket," Barrett said.
"When the shot left my hands, I knew it was in."
Barrett was swarmed by her teammates. Tears were flowing. Surely there were some in attendance who didn't understand the significance of the bucket, because the Wolfpack was celebrating as if it had just won the game.
The final buzzer sounded. The Irish had won 67-60.
But it was Barrett, who truly was the winner.
"My made shot was my most memorable shot as a player because it had so much meaning behind it. I went through pain, sweat, and tears to reach my made basket. I worked my butt off daily in rehab so that I made progress every day. I learned that everything happens for a reason and this experience was my testimony.
"I was not happy with my ACL outcome, but from my injury I have learned and grown so much as a player and as a person. This would have never happen if I didn’t go through my experience. This injury has strengthen me in ways I couldn't have done on my own."
"I just thank God for giving me this experience to share with others and to make me a stronger and better person."
Instead of 767 career points, Barrett's memorable three makes it 770.
"I made the last shot in Reynolds."
Reynolds Coliseum is undergoing a $35 million renovation and will force the team to play at Broughton High School in Raleigh for the 2015-16 season.
For a deeper look into Barrett's background, http://www.dnaofsports.com/stories/96.Tweet