PHILADELPHIA -Alyssa Baron made her mark on Penn’s basketball history, and she certainly continues to do so for Ramat Hasharon, a prominent Israeli basketball program. Currently, Baron is back in the United States and in the city of her alma mater. However, she returns to Israel at the end of the month in order to begin her second season in late October.
Last season, with Baron on board, Ramat Hasharon finished with an overall record of 10-13. While the team failed to make the league playoffs, they did reach the Israeli Cup finals thanks to a victory over Israel’s top team, Maccabi Ashdod, who placed first in the league that season.
Baron certainly had some obstacles to overcome during her overseas transition. Baron remarks that “surprisingly…the biggest challenge was adjusting to the basketball they use. It is a Molten brand basketball and it felt much different from the Nike basketball I was used to playing with [in the U.S.].” Along with a new basketball came a number of new rules. For example, while the three point line is 20 feet 9 inches in college, the line is even further back in Europe. As the remarkable athlete she has proven to be, Baron adjusted within a week.
There are a number of easy comparisons to draw when looking at Baron’s time at Penn and her time in Israel. In her four seasons at Penn, Baron played in every game—all 116 of them—and averaged 34.5 minutes per game. So far during her time with Ramat Hasharon, Baron played and scored in all 23 games of the 2014-15 season, averaging 28.2 minutes per game. Furthermore, Baron remains the second all-time highest scorer for Penn. In her first season with Ramat Hasharon, she was the team’s top scorer in more than a third of the team’s games. And coincidentally,Baron scored the first points of the game in her first professional outing - a feat she also accomplished in her first collegiate game at Penn.
Baron continues to post high numbers across the board for the Israeli program, including points (12.8 per game), assists (2.5/game), rebounds (5.7/game), and steals (1.7/game). She shot nearly 40 percent (39-for-103) from the extended three-point line.
Baron remains in contact with many of her former teammates and coaches from Penn. Monthly phone calls with Coach Laukaitis, occasional updates with Coach Day and Coach McLaughlin, and even a few gatherings with old teammates. Baron says that her graduating class has met in Florida, New York, and are making plans to meet in Philadelphia, as well. Baron has even been able to keep in touch with current players and saw a number of games last season on the Ivy League Digital Network. The 2014 Ivy League player of the year shares that “it was hard to watch a lot of games because of the time change but I was able to see about five. I watched both Princeton games, one Harvard game, and a couple of Big 5 games. I definitely stayed up way past my bedtime for a few of those games, but it was worth it to catch them in action.”
While Baron remains a dedicated and supportive alumna of Penn Women’s Basketball, she now spends her time training for her new team and playing with “a great group of ladies that [she] quickly became friends with.” When asked what she was looking forward to for this upcoming season, Baron replied, “my second season with the same team. Although not all of my teammates will be the same because it changes every year, I know more of what to expect when I arrive. I know my way around the country and I have a lot of friends over there. I can’t wait to start playing games again; there’s nothing better than playing games. This year, I hope we are able to win the Israeli Cup and the League championship.” Without a doubt, Baron has the support of her alma mater behind her in her upcoming season in Israel.