Kira Barra of the University of Maine is pictured during a game in her career with the Black Bears. The 6-foot-3 forward has signed a contract to play professional basketball next season in her native Germany. (Peter Buehner Photo)

Kira Barra played a backup role during her three seasons with the University of Maine women’s basketball team.

That status hasn’t prevented her from taking the next step in her career.

Barra has joined the professional ranks after signing a contract with the Saarlouis-Roden Diamonds in Germany’s second division.

“I’m looking forward to playing for the Diamonds,” Barra said. “The team is based in my hometown (Dillingen) and I’m ecstatic to be able to play on a high level while also living at home for a while. I have known most of the players and coaches for over a decade now and it clicked right away.”

The 6-foot-3 forward appeared in 86 games for coach Amy Vachon’s Black Bears. Barra played in all 32 games last season and made two starts.

She averaged 2.5 points and 1.4 rebounds and shot 35 percent from the field to help UMaine finish second in the America East Conference and earn a spot in the championship game against Stony Brook. The contest, and the remainder of the season, were canceled because of the coronavirus.

Barra looks ahead with great anticipation but is still grateful for her experience at UMaine. She graduated in May with a degree in journalism.

“It feels great being back in the gym where I first learned to play ball,” Barra said. “However, I’m also missing the Black Bear family a lot. It wasn’t the goodbye I wished for and I’ll definitely come visit as soon as it’s safe.”

Before attending UMaine, Barron won back-to-back U19 German championships in 2015 and 2016 and helped her team earn a first-place finish in 2014 at the U16 B Division European Championships.

Barra and the Diamonds are scheduled to officially open the 2020-2021 season on Oct. 24.

Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...