Author: Larissa Saco
Stephanie Babij (senior) joined the “1,000-point club,” having scored a total of 1,000 career points on Dec. 30 during a game against Southern Maine. She is the third woman in Occidental’s history to earn this prestigious honor.
The 1,000-point achievement is only one of her many impressive accomplishments as a basketball player for Occidental. During her first two years playing college basketball, she made SCIAC’s First Team, and at the end of her junior season, she was named SCIAC Player of the Year. Currently, she is one of the team’s three captains.
Her basketball journey began when she was a child. As a result of her family’s love for basketball, Babij was influenced to pursue the sport at an early age.
“My parents have always been a huge support system since they play themselves. After games I receive text messages from them asking what happened,” Babij said.
She started playing organized basketball in the fifth grade and eventually played for her middle school and high school teams.
Babij’s passion for basketball and the experience she gained influenced her decision to attend Occidental. “In addition to Oxy’s excellent academics and small class sizes, they gave me the opportunity to play basketball,” she said. She made the team and has played as a guard, forward and center for the Tigers.
Her goals for the rest of the season include scoring more points, gaining another SCIAC team championship and moving on to NCAA games. Currently the team has 7 wins and 2 losses and has entered the second round of conference games. If they continue to win, the team will remain the SCIAC champions and move on to a tournament between SCIAC’s top four teams. Although the team lost the tournament last year, Babij still maintains a positive attitude.
“We did lose last year but I feel like we all have the drive to win and the ability to move on to NCAA,” Babij said.
Babij has especially enjoyed the time she has spent with her teammates while playing basketball at Occidental.
“The biggest difference from year to year is my teammates, and they are all fun and unique in their own way,” she said.
As a captain and four-year veteran, her teammates look to her for guidance and inspiration.
“I am the quiet one on the team and everyone knows that, but they know that they can talk to me and trust me with whatever,” Babij said.
Although Babij does not know yet if she will continue to play organized basketball after she graduates, she will never forget what she gained at Occidental. “I’m a competitive person so I love playing, but I also loved the teamwork and camaraderie that comes with basketball. I know I’ve built friendships for the rest of my life,” she said.
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