From Argentina to Atlanta: Lake Region State's Tiziana Huici looking to shine nationally

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE – Although the Lake Region State Lady Royals concluded their basketball season during the cusp of the winter cycle, one Lady Royal will look to leave her mark during the pinnacle days of summer. 

After receiving an invitation in early June, Tiziana Huici will participate in the NJCAA Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Top 40 All-Star and Hall of Fame Event in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 20-23. 

Huici will be one of 40 returning student-athletes participating in the 14th Annual NJCAA Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s All-Star Game, representing all three NJCAA Divisions. Players will be split into different teams and practice Thursday before playing games on Friday and Saturday. 

Lake Region State's Tiziana Huici (listed) will participate in the 14th Annual NJCAA Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s All-Star Game in Atlanta, Georgia on July 20-23.

Such an honor certainly looked to be in the cards for Huici. In her first year as a guard for the program, the Corrientes, Argentina, native averaged 18.6 points (PPG) and 5.6 rebounds per game (RPG) in 29 games played (23 GS). Her 18.6 PPG ranked inside the top 20 among all NJCAA Division I players (17th). 

“I heard about the selection [during] the first days of June while I was working on campus and practicing with my coach,” Huici said. “I was so happy and thankful for the news, and also kind of scared because this is all new for me, but I believe [it] is going to be a fantastic experience to continue growing.” 

Although she might be anxious about the event festivities, Huici is eager to cross off another venue.  

“I am so excited for the games,” Huici said. “I have never been to Georgia before, and I think it is a really good opportunity for me as a player and also for Lake Region [State]. I [look] forward to learning new things, growing and developing myself as a basketball player.” 

It did not take long for Ryan Clark – Lake Region State’s Women’s Basketball head coach – to notice something special with Huici. But, of course, such an observation might not have been likely for a coach that has started as recently as Clark has. Clark’s first day on the job wasn’t until March 9. 

But even in Clark’s full-time transition to the head coaching role, he still noticed something. 

A lot, in fact. 

“She’s [Huici] an outstanding person,” Clark said. “That’s pretty much what I’ve heard from every single faculty and staff member on campus. I have been told stories that, when she first came to campus, she struggled with her English. And now, you talk to her, and you wouldn’t know she had any troubles. She’s a 4.0 student. She does outstanding work. All throughout campus, she has a few jobs, and she really embraces being a student at Lake Region State College. [She] represents everything we want in a student-athlete here as well.” 

Tiziana Huici (left, #5) averaged more than 18 PPG during her 2021-22 season with Lake Region State.

Huici’s coachability and drive to improve during every gym session, to Clark, has been nothing short of paramount. Watching game film has illustrated Clark’s realization. From Huici’s physical ability to enter the paint to her tenacity toward reading opposing defenses, Clark has recognized a high-octane player in more ways than one. 

But sometimes, the intangible factors away from the basketball court stand out the most. Such was the case during their first meeting together. 

To Clark, the most intangible factor that stood out came in Huici’s leadership. 

For a coach in transition, no quality could hold more merit. 

“From the first day we had our meeting, she basically asked me, ‘Coach, what do you need from me,’” Clark said. “For me, it is never easy coming into a program. When you are coming from a different one, you are trying to do what you want to do, but to have a player of her caliber come into your office right away and just say for me, how can I help you with recruiting, what do you need for work. All of those things, she was just great support.”

Huici will look toward the festivities as a way to improve even more for her upcoming season. Such is the way for a student-athlete eager to put in time on the court as much as she does in the books. 

From her future emphasis on more efficient three-point shooting to her overall basketball game, Huici will look to leave her mark in Atlanta. But, to Huici, her primary x-factor during the event will be the same as it would be back at Lake Region State: trust. 

“For me, the key was to trust myself and play how I am used to, performing the simple things I am good at and trying to assemble them with my team,” Huici said. 

Talk about leaving a good mark. 

John Crane is a sports/general assignment reporter for the Devils Lake Journal. Feel free to contact John via work phone (701-922-1372), cell phone (701-230-4339), email (jcrane@gannett.com) or Twitter (@johncranesports) with any story ideas.