The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Tara Walker

When faced with adversity, the strongest and the toughest always find a way to come out on top.

For Tara Walker, that adversity came in the form of knee surgery this past May.

“I wouldn’t say it held me back, but I was in some pain toward the end of the season,” said Walker. “I just tried to stay focused and kept working hard because I figured once the season was over, I was going to take care of it then.”

According to Walker’s own estimation, her knee is at about 85 percent as this season begins.

“It’s been difficult because I have been out for a few months,” Walker said. “I wasn’t doing anything except lifting, trying to rehab and get better. Now I spend a lot of time in the weight room, working on the treadmill. I’m trying to do everything and work extra hard so I can get this knee strong.”

“Tara has just been a great addition to the program,” coach Kim Barnes Arico said. “She’s one of our strongest, toughest players and even though the knee has held her back a little, she’s committed to the program and will be a consistent performer this year.”

Barnes Arico’s own relationship with Walker goes back to the guard’s days at Marist High School in New Jersey.

Walker’s coach at the time was Bill DeFazio, who is married to Alice DeFazio, Barnes Arico’s coach at Montclair State from 1989-93.

“It’s funny because last year there was the joke where the team would call me the ‘coach’s baby,'” Walker said. “It was all in fun though and we have a good relationship and a mutual respect.”

Ironically, Barnes Arico is a little over a month removed from giving birth to her second child, Emma, who will undoubtedly steal the moniker of ‘coach’s baby’ away from Walker.

“One thing I love about her (Barnes Arico) is that she is so competitive and she pushes us to all be on the same page and have the same energy all the time in practice going 100 percent,” Walker said.

It is that competitive nature that led the women’s basketball team in 2004-2005 to a record 20-11, one of the best in the history of the program.

However, Walker, a senior sports management major, doesn’t think the team can rest on the success of the past.

“I think we need to make a statement for ourselves early,” said Walker. “I think a lot of teams are not going to back down from us. These teams coming in [to the Big East] and the teams that have been here know what we can do and they know what we are capable of. We’re still going to have to work hard.”

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