Teammates, sisters highlight experience competing on same college basketball team

November 28, 2016

Gabbie Matl

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     Over four years you become close with the other students on the women’s basketball team and are familiar with the girls you have known since you started playing. But it isn’t everyday you played basketball with and have known one of the newest members of the team your entire life.

     Communication major Jen Vigil, senior shooting guard, was joined by her younger sister, freshman pre-med major Kirsten Vigil this year, who joined the women’s basketball team as the point guard this season.

     Kirsten said that having her sister on the team has made the transition into college athletics a lot easier.

     For the Vigils, basketball runs in the family. The girls’ older sister and father played college basketball as well, and both said it’s great to have that support.

     “Being able to carry on a family tradition has been really cool,” said Kirsten.

     Jen and Kirsten have been playing together for years, either on competitive teams or in pick-up games, but being on the same team is a new experience for both, said Jen.

     “It’s been kind of an odd experience to see how she’s grown and how I’ve grown. It’s a little of an adjustment, but it’s been really great,” said Jen. “This is the first time (we’ve played together) where we are both so experienced.”

     The sisters said they use their background together to work as a unit on the court.

     “We think in exactly the same way. If she takes my man I already know to take hers. We don’t even have to talk about it; it just happens. There are times when I’m able to just drive and dish to Jen,” said Kristen.

     Though she tried to remain unbiased, Jen said she had an influence on Kristen during the recruiting process. According to Kristen, having the chance to play again with her sister was a one of the reasons she chose to come to UCCS.

     “I was talking to a lot of RMAC schools, but (Jen) was one of my deciding factors. Obviously I get to play with her for one last year, and another thing was that all of my family can come to games. I also didn’t want to play against her,” said Kirsten.

     Lynn Plett, the new head coach for women’s basketball, said that the sisters have contributed to make a great atmosphere within the team.

     “There really haven’t been any negatives at all. They seem to be really competitive with each other, which is good because they push each other to be better,” said Plett.

     The team had a strong start to the season, and were placed third in the Preseason Coaches’ poll, and have a 3-3 record so far, but they still want to improve on last year’s performance where they tied for fourth in the RMAC regular season, according to Plett.

     The team hopes to win the RMAC conference and advance farther into the NCAA tournament than last year.

     “It’s my senior year, and I would love to just to go out and play with no regrets,” said Jen.

     “I love being with (Kristen) and being able to share this with her. It’s a nice way to leave the season and to be done with my college career, and ending it with my sister is great.”