If you attend a Dinos women’s basketball game this season, one thing you can expect to see is Amélie Collin swiping the ball.
The third-year guard and tenacious defender has led the Dinos in steals in her first two seasons on the team and has averaged over two per game in her Canada West career.
With those quick hands, she’s hoping to bring home a big honour.
“I want to win Defensive Player of the Year,” she says. “I think I have what it takes to be one of the best defenders in the full-court and in the half-court, and I want to prove it.”
It’s the newest challenge for the native of Rimouski, Que., who arrived in Calgary looking to make a mark in the more dynamic league play of Canada West.
“I didn’t want to stay in Quebec because I wasn’t a fan of the way their league works,” Collin explains. “I was looking for and was ready for a bigger challenge.”
The next challenge has been a familiar pursuit for Collin, who left her hometown at the age of 15 to pursue higher-level basketball.
UCalgary’s first CEGEP recruit says she connected instantly with head coach Damian Jennings, which helped solidify her decision to join the Dinos.
Off the court, the move has also allowed Collin to become bilingual. “In my hometown, you don’t need to speak English,” she says. “But I think learning English is going to be useful in my life later on.”
Collin also has the challenge of balancing basketball with the workload of being a Schulich School of Engineering student. She says she knew what she was getting into before she came to UCalgary but admits it’s still a challenge.
“It takes lots of time management, organization, and sacrifice,” the civil engineering student explains. “When we’re on the road, if the other girls are having free time, I’m having study time.”
Despite these challenges, Collin says it is totally doable to be an engineering student-athlete. Coming out of CEGEP, which is the Quebec pre-university system, Collin feels she had some advantages. Both academically and athletically, students come out older and more mature than those coming straight from high school.
“It’s not as big of a change for me because I had those three years which prepared me for university,” Collin says.
Collin and the Dinos are hoping to build on last year’s campaign, when they made it to nationals.
“The goal is to get back there, advance further, and bring home a national championship, that would be awesome,” she says.
Collin says this is the closest team she has ever been a part of, and the team is always growing and trying to be better than they were the day before.
“I think we have what it takes to make a statement across the league and across the country,” she says.
“Whatever comes our way, we’re ready for it.”