SFA’s women’s basketball team swept the Southland conference this year with 14 wins and 0 losses and finished the season in the NCAA with an overall 24-3 record. This is the first time the Ladyjacks have made it to the NCAA courts since 2008.
Basketball is a team game; but a team is made up of individuals, one of which is a starting point guard ending her career at SFA with the third most scored 3-point goals in SFA history at 212. This is SFA’s point guard. This is Marissa Banfield.
Banfield grew up in Friendswood, Texas and went to Westbury Christian before coming to SFA and joining the basketball team. Four years later, she is now a senior graduating in May with a bachelor’s degree in sports business.
Athletics have been a part of Banfield’s life. She started dancing at two-years-old and left the stage for the basketball courts at eight. While her talent for basketball was evident to those around her, Banfield only realized she loved the sport when she was about to give it up.
“I was probably 12-years-old,” Banfield said. “I always thought my dad was so hard on me; and at that point, I didn’t really like basketball and thought I was going to quit. He had my coach come out and talk to me and she told me that I had so much potential and that I’m the hardest worker she’s been around. She made me realize that I’d regret it if I didn’t see it through.”
While Marissa has been praised by coaches past and present for her shooting, game knowledge and teamwork, her workethic has been repeatedly recognized. Mark Kellogg just finished his sixth season as head coach of SFA’s Ladyjack basketball team.
“She’s one of the harder working kids, if not the hardest working, and always has been,” Kellogg said. “At the end of her sophomore and junior year, she had two injuries, and it became obvious how much she meant to our team.”
Banfield has always been a point guard. She has always been a shooter. Third place in SFA history is not achieved by luck; but even four shots away from second, Banfield had no idea she was so close to the record. She was just playing basketball.
“I’ve always thought she was a good shooter, now she’s turned herself into an elite shooter,” Kellogg said. “What this team has done in this league is a direct reflection is where we came from and it wasn’t easy.”
Banfield achieved one of her biggest goals this year by getting into the NCAA tournament, but she didn’t do it alone. She credits her family as her biggest supporters throughout her career, but her team isn’t far behind.
“The best part was having a team who was like a family to me,” Banfield said. “The coaches are like family and my teammates I’ll always consider sisters. I’ve had a great experience, and we’ve worked really hard all four years I’ve been here.”
After graduating college, she would like to pursue a master’s degree and a grad assistant job with a college team. If not coaching, she’s considering a job in sports marketing, never straying too far from the basketball court.