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Staying off the court but in the game Alicia Tan moves from star player to coach this season

Alicia Tan, star of the SAIT women’s basketball team the last few years, has taken her talents behind the bench this season, starting her coaching career with the Trojans.

Tan was starting guard for the Trojans last year in their 17-4 season, winning bronze in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) championship. In her last season, she put up 16.4 points per game, ranking third overall in the ACAC; she was also ranked first for three-point shots. She became just the fourth SAIT women’s player to record 1,000 points, and was named to the ACAC All-Conference for the third time.After being the anchor of the team on the court, she said her first year coaching has been “frustrating.”

“Honestly it’s quite frustrating, but I know I have to be patient, because half of our team are rookies,” she said.

Earlier in the season, fellow assistant coach Howie Leong noted that Tan’s departure from the team meant they would have a considerably different makeup.

On her part, Tan said the transition from player to coach has been difficult, and that it was hard not to put the jersey on and play.

“It’s really hard because I just finished last year, and now I’m not able to do anything, and not [able] to go out,” she said.

“As much as I want to go out and do something and help the team, I can’t. All I can do is use my voice.”

Tan, who was a Trojans guard for four years, believes that head coach Ranbir Parmar is making it easier for her first year coaching. Parmar won ACAC Coach of the Year last season.

“I know Bir’s coaching style, and I support everything he says,” she said.

“It’s easier to coach behind someone where you believe in their coaching style and their basketball philosophy.”

Tan expects a lot from the new and returning players.

“They’ve been there, done that, so they really have no excuse,” she said about the returning players.

She has higher expectations from new players, but knows she has to be calm with them, while still maintaining the drive for success.

“They’re new to this level so I know that if I keep pushing them, then hopefully they’ll get it,” she said.

The Trojans had five preseason games, winning three and losing two.

Interviewed before their season-opening win against Briercrest College, Tan said the games have been “up and down,” and that there’s a lot to improve on.

“I think if we stick to what we believe in and all those factors, we’ll be okay,” she stated.

After winning against Briercrest, the women’s team lost two straight to Lethbridge College and St. Mary’s College, placing them at 1-2 as of Oct. 24.

Their next game is Nov. 2 at home against Ambrose University.

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