June 27, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - Former Tulane University women's basketball standout and Green Wave Hall of Famer Barbara Farris will once again make an impact at the professional level as the native of Harvey, La., will serve as an assistant coach with the New York Liberty for the second consecutive season.
Farris, who was inducted into the Tulane Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004, is one of two assistants under head coach Bill Laimbeer, joining fellow assistant and former WNBA standout Katie Smith on the Liberty bench. In addition to her time as a professional coach, Farris has served as head coach at the prep level at nearby John Curtis Christian School the last four seasons.
"Barbara certainly been an alum that has made the most of a career in basketball both as a professional player and as a coach," Tulane head coach Lisa Stockton said. "She is one of our longest-standing pro players and moved on to the high school ranks where she's had some great seasons. It says a lot of the respect Coach Laimbeer has for her to not only coach her but also put her on his staff for a second consecutive season."
Following a stellar prep career at St. Martin's Episcopal School where she was two-time All-Louisiana honoree and claimed All-East Bank, All-Metro and All-District recognition as a prepster, Farris starred for the Green Wave from 1994-98 when she helped lead Tulane to a combined 88-32 record, four trips to the NCAA Tournament and the 1997 Conference USA regular-season and tournament championship.
Along the way, Farris set the school's field goal percentage record at .637 after sinking 660-of-1035 shots while finishing tied for first with 114 games started. In addition, Farris completed her Green Wave career second in free throws made (408), free throw attempts (684), total rebounds (939), offensive rebounds (351) and defensive rebounds (588), third in rebounds per game (8.0), tied for third in games played (118), fourth in points, field goals made, blocked shots (47), minutes played (3293) and minutes per game (27.9), sixth in points per game (14.7) and seventh in steals (144).
Originally drafted No. 3 overall in the 1998 American Basketball Association Draft by the New England Blizzard, Farris joined the WNBA with the Detroit Shock in 2000, her first of 10 seasons as a player in the league. She completed her WNBA career averaging 3.9 points and 3.0 rebounds per game over 280 games and helped her teams advance to the playoffs five times, including a WNBA Championship with the Laimbeer-coached Shock in 2003.
After playing her first six pro seasons in Detroit, Farris joined the Liberty for the 2006 and 2007 campaigns, and played in 2008 for the Phoenix Mercury before returning to Detroit in 2009. Her best pro season came in New York in 2006 when she averaged 7.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists per outing.
In addition to her time playing domestically, Farris also spent three seasons in France, three in Spain and one in South Korea as well as playing half seasons in Greece, Turkey and the Czech Republic. At the conclusion of her pro career, Farris began coaching with the Green Wave as an assistant during the 07-08 season and began her prep coaching career with former Tulane teammate Mary Anne Marino at Bonnabel High School for the 2009-10 season before accepting her current position at John Curtis.
"I definitely think my time at Tulane helped shape me as a person both on the court and as a member the University," Farris said. "As a basketball player, I kind of came into my own when I was there. I got started playing late, at around 13, and I always knew I wanted to get better but it wasn't until I got to college that I realized how much I really wanted it. People like Coach Stockton and [former Tulane assistant coach] Katie Meier helped me maximize my potential. They taught me about efficiency, how to be a good teammate and how to be a leader on the court.
"They gave me a great deal of responsibility and with through that I learned how to be a captain and a team player. It planted that seed and made me think that I may want to be a coach. I appreciate what they taught me and how hard they have to work to help people like me and I try to use that in my current role."
With John Curtis the last three years, Farris has compiled an overall record of 118-17, a 40-0 mark in district play and four consecutive trips to the playoffs, including a state title in 2012. In their first season Farris' direction, the Lady Patriots went 27-3 overall with a 6-0 record in District 9-2A action and advanced to the state quarterfinals. A year later, the Patriots went 34-1 with a 12-0 mark in District 10-2A action, and won the 2A championship with a 55-42 win over Iota in 2011-12.
In 2012-13, John Curtis went 23-8 overall, 8-0 in District 10-2A action and finished state runners-up before going 34-5 with a 14-0 record in District 11-3A play and advancing to the state semifinals last year, when she was named New Orleans Small Schools Girls Basketball Coach of the Year by The Times-Picayune.
A big reason for the team's success has been the play of guard Kolby Morgan, who will join the Green Wave program as a true freshman for the 2014-15 campaign. Morgan graduated as John Curtis' all-time leading scorer with 2,229 points, claimed all-district honors all four seasons and was a three-time all-state selection.
As a senior, Morgan was named Times-Picayune New Orleans Small Schools Girls Basketball Player of the Year and Louisiana 3A MVP after averaging 22.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.7 blocks per game. Along the way, she connected at a .489 clip from the field (310-of-634), .384 from beyond the 3-point arc (87-of-227) and .756 from the free throw line (152-of-201).