A key reason for the women’s basketball programs success these past few seasons has a lot to do with senior guard Brandie Baker.
Baker is playing in her last season for CMU, which will be losing a leader and record holder when she departs the program this spring.
“Brandie has been the do-it-all type of player for us throughout her career,” said head coach Sue Guevara. “She has played every single position offensively, she has defended every position defensively, she has played through injuries … she is probably one of our strongest players.”
The Chippewas are putting together another successful season and Baker has helped along the way. Though she is only averaging single-digits so far in scoring (7.6) and rebounding (5.8), Baker has played a big role for the team.
Baker recorded seven points, six rebounds, a block and a steal in the win against then-ranked Texas in December. In her career, including three games this season, she has recorded 9.3 points, six rebounds, 2.8 assists and one steal per game against ranked opponents.
“We battled really well in non-conference with some of the top teams,” Baker said. “We started off conference really well and we’re back on track with another win.”
Baker’s best game of the season came when her team beat St. Joseph’s, 98-84, on Dec. 20 behind her 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Those kind of numbers have been natural for Baker. In her freshman and sophomore seasons, Baker averaged double-figures in points and was able to record multiple double-doubles and one triple-double.
The triple-double came in the first game of her sophomore season against North Carolina A & T, after missing the previous season due to a knee injury.
“They couldn’t stop her,” Guevara said. “She’s a freight train when she’s going to the basket.”
She recorded 12 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, giving her the first triple-double in CMU basketball history and a memory that will stay with her for a long time.
“I was very excited about it,” Baker said. “I felt really good about it … it’s something I can always remember.”
That season she also broke her own record, set during her freshman season, for minutes played (1,144) and helped lead the Chippewas to a No. 2 finish in the MAC West averaging 13 points, 7.2 rebounds and five assists per game.
“Brandie is a competitor,” Guevara said. “Sitting out and watching, I think she learned a lot about her team, about herself, and I think she was just really hungry to get back at it.”
Since then, she has had foot problems, among other injuries, but this season she has been able to stay healthy.
“Right now I feel pretty healthy,” Baker said. “I don’t feel like anything’s holding me back.”
Injuries have forced Baker to change her game a little, while at the same time playing a different role for the team. Baker has been playing unselfishly with 69 assists for the season, helping her team to an 9-2 conference record, good for No. 2 in the MAC West behind Toledo.
“I don’t look to score as much,” Baker said. “Sometimes I want to pass more, but I’m still trying to be aggressive.”
This season, Baker moved to No. 3 in program history in career assists (401) and No. 5 in career free-throws made (318). She also became the 21st player in program history to score more than 1,000 points.
After a standout high school career, Baker came to CMU as a highly-touted freshman. She averaged 12.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists in her first season as a Chippewa, on her way to becoming only the second player in program history to be voted Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year.
“Coming here was a really good choice for me,” Baker said. “I got a lot of time to play, set a few records, this was a really good place for me to play.”
The only thing Baker hasn’t done is win a MAC championship and go to the NCAA tournament, something she will be looking to do to cap off her career at CMU.