Graduating senior co-captain and guard/forward Emily Briggs made an immediate impact on the Tufts women’s basketball team her first year when she was named NESCAC Rookie of the Year at the end of the season. Briggs was the team’s first Rookie of the Year in 10 years, awarded after being part of the team that went 26–5 on the season.
Although her four years at Tufts and on the women’s basketball team were interrupted by the pandemic, Briggs made her mark on the program through her competitive nature, energy and leadership.
“Emily is a phenomenal leader. The first few things that come to my mind is she’s just a competitor — she’s super confident in her abilities and she competes really hard, she hates to lose and I think her teammates really follow that. When she’s on the court, when she’s in practice, she gives 100% at all times,” head coach Jill Pace said. “From a leadership perspective, she has a really great energy about her. It’s a really infectious positive energy that her teammates latch onto and that really makes everyone around her better from a teammate and a basketball perspective.”
Her teammates shared a similar sentiment, noting how Briggs is someone who they look up to both on and off the court.
“I think I can speak for others in that she’s someone I’d definitely go to if I ever needed anything,” junior co-captain and forward Sofia Rosa said. “On the court, her voice is really valued and people have a lot of respect for her. She brings a competitive attitude while at the same time making sure we have fun, which has ultimately brought us closer together as a team.”
With her junior season cut short during playoffs and her senior season canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Briggs still made the most of the games in which she got to play. The Jumbos were very successful during her career, boasting a 82–9 record over fewer than three completed seasons.
During her first year at Tufts, Briggs ranked second on the team with 19 blocks, fourth on the team with 113 rebounds and scored a season high of 20 points in a win over Hamilton. As a sophomore, Briggs led the team to a NESCAC Championship in an exciting win over Bowdoin. She was ranked third on the team with 9.4 points per game, netting double-digit points 15 times during the season. Briggs notes this NESCAC Championship was one of her favorite memories at Tufts.
“Winning the NESCAC Championship sophomore year, being underdogs in the tournament, that was awesome,” Briggs said. “[There were] crucial shots at the end of the game that won it for us, and that was just very exciting.”
During the team’s shortened season her junior year, Briggs once again played an instrumental role in the team’s first ever undefeated regular season. She ranked second on the team with 11.4 points per game and 10th in the NESCAC with a 44.4% shooting percentage. Briggs scored double digits 17 times and scored over 20 points three times. She reached a season high of 23 points in a win over Bowdoin and overall, had a 78.3% free throw percentage.
Throughout her time at Tufts, Briggs learned from past teammates, found her own voice and grew into a bigger leadership role for her team.
“She grew a ton as a player, she really found her role for us, and I think really embraced that role in a nice way,” Pace said. “From a leadership perspective, Emily found her voice for sure — as a leader on the court and off the court as well for her teammates — so it was fun to see her growth, both as a player and a leader.”
In addition to basketball, Briggs participated in Tufts’ Big Brothers Big Sisters program for the majority of her time here. She will be moving to Chicago this summer to begin her career with MoLo Logistics and also plans to run the Chicago Marathon in October. In addition to playing, competing and representing her school, Briggs will miss her teammates the most next year.
“Enjoy it, because it goes by really fast,” she said. “I feel like that was kind of the best piece of advice I received, and I would also say that to people too. You think four years is a long time but it goes by really fast so just enjoy the four years and all the challenges but also all the fun you have while being at Tufts.”
Her teammates and coach emphasized the positive impact Briggs left on the program and how her presence will be missed in the years to come.
“She leaves a legacy of bringing positivity … and understanding how to balance being a really high-level, competitive athlete while also having fun,” Pace said.