Jill Barta entered college basically undefeated in her basketball career. That might sound crazy, but Barta finished her career at Fairfield High School with a record of 104-0. It was at the time the longest streak without a loss in high school basketball. After Barta left, the streak soon ended. In her senior year Barta was named the player of the year in Montana after posting 24.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg and over three blocks a night.
When Barta arrived at Gonzaga, there was a plethora of frontcourt players, so she decided to red-shirt that first year. The magic of Gonzaga's red-shirt program doesn't just exist on the men's side, as the year to develop proved to be the right decision.
Barta started the first year off the bench as a sixth woman of sorts. But with the injuries coming down, coach Fortier had her start the last ten games. She took the new role and excelled averaging 19.6 ppg down the stretch. Barta became the first ever freshman in GU history to lead the team in scoring. Her 14 ppg season average in just 22 minutes helped land her on the first team All-WCC team. The season high of 31 at Pacific was an indicator of her sophomore encore performances.
This past season Barta started all but one game, and finished fourth in the league with 16.8 ppg, once again the best on the team. She actually expanded her range on a consistent level, leading the team with 41 threes and shooting it at a healthy 37%. Not only can she space the floor, but fouling her doesn't help either, with her 85% free throw shooting.
And as the best player on the team, naturally she took the last shot in a couple of games this season. Despite the team struggling throughout those road games at San Diego and Santa Clara, Barta's clutch shots at the end helped seal the regular season WCC title for the Zags.
But what will endear her the most to Zag fans are her games against Saint Mary's. Moraga is a dangerous place to play regardless of gender and wins are far from guaranteed. That's why Barta dropping 33 was so impressive in the close victory. That was her career best, until they met again in the WCC title game. In a game to determine the WCC representative, she saved her best performance for last, with 37 points to complete the three game sweep of the Gaels. The career high game also set a record for the conference tournament. It also sealed her award for Most Outstanding player in the WCC tournament.
Barta is just only the second player in school history to reach 1,000 points, the first being Heather Bowman from 2006-10. The now junior has a chance to make even more history, as she's set to put up even better numbers than before.