The 2013-14 season was a struggle for the Las Positas women’s basketball team.
One strongpoint for the team was the play, and leadership, of freshman guard.
“She was a fantastic leader off the court,” said women’s basketball Head Coach Clarence Morgan. “She was a great team player and a great team leader.”
Barbalinardo has long dreamt of gracing The University of Oregon’s halls, now those dreams are closer than ever before. The Livermore native could soon be added to a long list LPC alumnus to use their lessons learned at the small community college to propel them through major universities. Oregon has always been the primary target for the 21-year-old.
“I want to do marketing for Nike,” Barbalinardo said, “and Oregon is the headquarters for Nike.”
Barbalinardo is a graduate of Livermore High School, which is where she played basketball. She was also multi-event star on the track team – competing in the long jump and running the 100 and 200 meter as well as the 4×100 meter. Even prior high school, Barbalinardo has been a year-around athlete. This is possibly what berthed her competitive nature – a trait that, according to her coaches and teammates, is the key to her quality leadership.
“I guess I’m just a competitive person,” Barbalinardo said. “Even if it’s just the little things, I take it to heart.”
Competition is not something that came from Barbalinardo’s childhood, although that may surprise many who know her as one of 12 children.
Barbalinardo is quick to point out her mother as the strength of her large family.
“She’s always been really supportive,” Barbalinardo said, “in everything we do. She’s an angel, I don’t know how she puts up with all of us, but she does.”
Although she acknowledges her mother as her family’s metronome, Barbalinardo is ever thankful for the direct support she has gotten from her older brother, Joe.
“My older brother is my biggest supporter,” Barbalinardo said, “He takes me to the gym to work on whatever I need to work on. He makes me set up appointments to see a counselor, to make sure I’m doing exactly what I need to be doing.”
Whether it has been the support of her mother or the guidance of her siblings, Barbalinardo is nearing the completion of her general courses at Las Positas. And after a successful individual season on the hardwood, Barbalinardo now has finds herself nearing her realization of being a Duck. The idea of transfer is something that she talked excessively with coach Morgan.
“Any coach would want ten Gabi’s on their team,” Morgan said. “She works hard and gets it done.”
Barbalinardo is grateful for her time spent as a Hawk, mostly because of the coach, as she says he goes to a “whole new level” as a mentor.
Not only has Coach Morgan reinstated the fun of sports in Barbalinardo, but also he has helped through her schooling. Furthermore, he supports her move to Oregon and has helped her realize that, even if she is not yet ready to study and play in Eugene (Oregon), there are many options that will her closer to Pac-12 powerhouse.
No matter where she is next year, Barbalinardo has been positively impacted in her time at LPC. She has also made an impact on the people she has encountered, with her personal life-goal.
If there is just one person that people look up to, I strive to be that person,” she said.
After a season with an unsuccessful win-loss record, the women’s basketball team now must focus on the arduous task of replacing a team leader, as Barbalinardo continues chasing her dream.