You can’t get much further from Kamloops, B.C. than Chekhov, Russia, but that’s where Emma Piggin of the women’s basketball team found herself spending eight days this past summer.
Piggin, who plays point guard, didn’t have time to visit St. Basil’s Cathedral or the Kremlin while she was behind the Iron Curtain; she was too busy making some history, becoming the first TRU women’s basketball player to ever represent Canada, when she played in the FIBA U19 women’s world championships.
While Team Canada struggled in that tournament, finishing eighth out of 16 teams, Piggin was able to gain some basketball knowledge and experience from the trip to Russia and is now applying that to great effect on the court wearing the white and orange of TRU.
“Playing overseas was unbelievable. I loved the competition. There are so many great players out there and I got to guard some of them and it was such a great experience,” Piggin said.
The 19-year-old Piggin played a key role on the WolfPack team that won their first ever CIS division title last year. Beginning the season coming off the bench, the Kamloops native played so well that, even as a first-year, she worked her way into the starting lineup by the end of the season.
The two main things that Piggin says she learned from playing overseas are patience on the court, and that she has the ability to step into more of a leadership role both on and off it.
With all the experience gained from playing for Team Canada as well as the growth that comes with being another year older, Piggin is someone that the team now relies on to not only carry the ball up the floor and direct the offense but also to put up her own points on the board. Through five games this year she has proven that she can do it all, sitting second on the team with 13.6 points per game, while also leading the team in assists and rebounds.
The change into more of a leader for the ‘Pack is something that will take some time for Piggin to settle into. “It hasn’t been an easy transition. It’s a huge learning curve and I think playing over the summer really helped me, because I improved just playing against those players defensively and offensively so I’m really fortunate for that, but I’m still learning.
Head coach of the WolfPack Scott Reeves was on the coaching staff of that U19 Canadian team and he feels as though that kind of exposure on an international level is “invaluable, you’re dealing with the best athletes, coaches and systems in the world so you can’t put a price on it.”
Piggin was again dominant on Saturday in TRU’s latest game, a 75–60 loss to the Grant MacEwan Griffins. She put up 20 points, adding ten rebounds and seven assists to finish just three helpers shy of a triple-double.