EDWARDSVILLE — SIUE women’s basketball head coach Paula Buscher announced Wednesday the signing of junior college transfer Elina Berzina.
The 5-foot, 10-inch guard and forward from Independence Community College in Independence, Kansas, averaged 7.3 points per game while hitting 34.8 percent of her 3-pointers last season.
“Elina is a great addition to our program, a guard with good size and athleticism,” Buscher said. “She has 3-point range, which will help us spread our offense as well as the ability to get to the basket. Elina has a great work ethic and is willing to put in the time both on the court and in the classroom to be successful.”
A native of Riga, Latvia, Berzina turned on the offense for ICC by averaging a double-double over her last three games of the season. That included a 10-point, 11-rebound effort against 13th-ranked Hutchinson Community College.
She spent two seasons at ICC, helping her team to a 22-9 record this past season and 42-19 over the past two seasons. Berzina attended Riga Secondary School No. 69 and played for club teams BJSS and TTTRiga/Juniores.
“Elina is a wonderful young woman as well as a very hard-working and talented student-athlete,” Independence head coach Leslie Crane said. “She is very conscientious and determined in the classroom, which has resulted in a 4.0 GPA. She has taken this same work ethic to the basketball court, as she is always the first into the gym and the last one out. Elina understands what it means to be a part of something bigger than herself, and she knows that with her hard work she can achieve her educational goals. SIUE has recruited the total package in Elina Berzina.”
Berzina also earned a spot on the Latvian U20 national team last summer and participated in the European Championships in the Canary Islands, where she helped her team defeat Russia and Turkey.