Eastern Basketball’s Emily Lavin Tours Brazil With USA Select Team

     In her three seasons of basketball for Eastern University, Emily Lavin has dominated the MAC Freedom Conference, making a name for herself in all of NCAA DIII Women’s Basketball. In Lavin’s first season for the Eagles (2013-14), she earned the title of MAC Freedom Conference Rookie of the Year. At the end of her first season, Lavin was already the fourth-highest scorer on the Eagles’ roster and ranked second in total rebounds. In her sophomore season, Lavin twice-earned MAC Freedom Player of the Week and became the Eagles’ leading rebounder. In the 2015-16 season, Lavin earned MAC Freedom Player of the Week twice consecutively. Her talents have shown through as a strong defensive player, finishing with 100 total blocks in her junior season. Lavin has started 70 out of the 75 total games she has played as an Eagle and has scored a total of 898 points, putting her on track to join the 1,000-point club in her senior year. While Lavin’s natural abilities and hard work have proved very successful at the DIII collegiate level, she was recently able to take her talents abroad for a once in a lifetime opportunity.

     In the spring of 2016, Lavin received an email from Ron Smith, Director of USA Sports Tours and Events, inviting her to join the USA National DIII Women’s Basketball Select Team. Each year, the USA Select Team travels to Brazil to compete against four Brazilian professional teams. The Select Team consists solely of invited DIII basketball players, and so for Lavin to be selected as one the top 10 players across the nation really speaks volumes to her talent and the high standards of the Eastern University Women’s Basketball program. In 2013, Lavin’s former EU teammate Meghan Nowak (‘15) partook in the same opportunity with the DIII Select Team. The 2016 Select Team consisted of nine other players from schools all across the nation, spanning from Washington to Minnesota to Georgia. None of these great athletes had ever played together before, with the exception of two players from the University of Puget Sound, the same school from which Select Team coach Loree Payne reigns. Also along for the ride was Lavin’s father, Bob Lavin.

     “He was not going to miss it,” Lavin says of her father’s decision to tag along for the trip. “I think he had more fun than me. He loved it.”

     Before the trip to Brazil, the Men’s and Women’s Select Teams met up in Orlando, Fla. for team introductions, two practices and the distribution of their Team USA uniforms. From the States, the teams flew to São Paulo, Brazil and played their first international game that same day. On the tour, the USA Select Team played a professional team from four Brazilian cities and led a basketball clinic for the local children.

     Outside of basketball, the team was able to explore the country of Brazil.

     “Driving into Rio… we saw a lot of poverty,” Lavin says, “but then you’d get into Rio and see that the Olympics were coming.” Lavin’s favorite part of the trip was holding the Olympic torch as it made its tour across the country of Brazil. The torch had made a stop in the city of Piracicaba in the same gym in which Lavin’s team was playing. After holding the Olympic torch, Lavin says that the team played their best game.

     “We won and all the fans were so into it. It was definitely a big city event.” Overall, the USA Women’s Select Team finished with a record of 2-2, losing their first and last games of the tour.

Emily Lavin/ The Waltonian

“It was definitely more than basketball,” Lavin says as she reflects on her experience.  “I would do it all over again. I didn’t want to leave.” Fortunately for EUWB, Lavin has returned for her fourth and final year for the Eagles. The senior will begin the last season of her collegiate basketball career on Oct. 15.

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