Senior guard Kori Bayne-Walker is poised to set an all-time Stony Brook Women’s Basketball record this season.
Coming into the last season of her collegiate career, the veteran is set to break the program’s career assist record for the Stony Brook women’s basketball team. The key number for the dynamic distributor is 417, the current record, held by 2007 graduate Mykeema Ford.
The star point guard needs to drop just 77 dimes to break the mark set by Ford, likely no problem for a player that has had back-to-back seasons with at least 100 assists.
“It would mean a lot to me because distributing the ball and getting assists is what I pride myself [on],” Bayne-Walker said. “I think I will be able to do that with the teammates that I have. I have great shooters, great post second finishers on the basket, people that I really work well with so that would really mean a lot to me.”
The Rochester native learned how to be a dominant facilitator playing under head coach Tara Graziadei at Gates Chili High School.
“At times I was like ‘Kori, you gotta stop passing the ball,’” Graziadei recalled. “She always wanted to be known as a kid who could really get her teammates involved and deliver some really good assists. To break the [assists record] I know would be a huge honor for her because this is definitely something she’s always wanted to do.”
The team follows the notion that setting records derives from a group effort emphasizing positive team play.
“Any individual accomplishment is a team accomplishment,” head coach Caroline McCombs stated. “When she breaks and accomplishes that record it’s going to be because we’ve been successful on the basketball court every day.”
But while Bayne-Walker is eager at the possibility of breaking the record, she stands firm on her ultimate dream: to raise an America East Championship trophy with her teammates.
Bayne-Walker has orchestrated the offense of two straight 17-win seasons, each ending in postseason appearances. The assertive point guard excelled in the Seawolves’ offense from the start, as she was on the America East All-Rookie Team her first season, becoming a Second Team All-America East selectee in her sophomore year.
“When you have an opportunity to play with Kori, you really respect the things that she’s able to do on the court,” McCombs said. “I mean you can almost stop and get a couple of ‘whoa’ moments because of the passes that she’s able to make.”
The guard, who also has added 8.0 points per game in her career, is praised for being a mentor to her teammates and also for her versatile abilities on the court.
“Kori’s a special player, she has a great feel for the game, she has a great feel for her teammates,” McCombs said. “She sees things just like a coach sees them and she’s on the court. That’s how things get done, out on the floor.”
Whether it is on or off the court, Bayne-Walker is a leader. When freshman guard Giolibeth Perez found herself struggling in the transition from high school to college basketball play, Bayne-Walker stepped in to show her the ropes.
“She can be a person that I look up too; she can help me with my game in a lot of ways,” Perez said. “When I need her, she’s always there for me talking as a point guard. If I have a couple of questions, I just go ask her. She’s a really good person to talk to.”
Bayne-Walker has had a major impact on the only freshman guard on the team. Perez aspires to reach the heights that Bayne-Walker has in her career.
“She’s making history at this school,” Perez said. “I’d like to become a player like that one day.”
Bayne-Walker cannot help but credit her success to her teammates; they drive her to be the player that she is today.
“Probably my teammates,” Bayne-Walker said when asked about her motivation. “We’ve been through a lot together so just kind of going out and winning a championship with them would mean a lot to me.”
Heading into her final year of play, Bayne-Walker knows the feeling of making it to the postseason. What she does not know is what life after Stony Brook basketball will be like but that does not faze her as she only has one goal in mind.
“Just trying to win a championship first and figure it out after that.”