Sunil Sunder Raj, Contributor, Global Women’s Sports Radio
Growing up in Berlin, Connecticut Lyzi Litwinko knew basketball was her main sport, inspired by her older siblings and Dad playing the sport as well. Furthermore, enjoying watching tapes of Sabrina Ionescu and Diana Taurasi. While attending Berlin High School, Litwinko flourished on the hardwood court. Racking up a number of accomplishments, the all-time leading scorer, most rebounds in a single season, most free throws and assists.
A three-year starter, two-time All-State honoree, and tallying her 1,000th career point in her junior year. Adding to her list of accolades, Litwinko played three years on the volleyball team where she earned All-State honors in her senior year.
Deciding to attend NJIT, Litwinko scored three points in her 2020-21 regular-season debut against Saint Peter’s. In the America East conference opener at New Hampshire is where Litwinko made a significant impact, registering a career-high 11 points including a perfect 4 for 4 from the free-throw line in the Highlanders 78-57 win over the Wildcats.
“It was kind of surreal stepping out on the court for the first time(Saint Peter’s), it’s not necessarily how I pictured it but still getting to play in that environment and against that competition and my first college bucket was pretty good,” Lyzi Litwinko described.”
“We’re young obviously but I feel coming in it kind of came easily to us and we all get along very well off the court and definitely translates onto the court and the freshmen coming we all love to talk. We definitely came out on a mission wanting to proving a point and make a statement and get that first win the America East.”
Last Saturday the Highlanders played their first home game of the 2020-21 season at the Wellness and Events Center against FDU (Fairleigh Dickinson University). Displaying no butterflies at all, Litwinko matcher her career-high of 11 points.
“My initial impressions of the WEC, definitely a beautiful arena and amazing place to play,” Lyzi Litwinko noted.
“So many aspects of it are just incredible, it’s such a huge arena and the bright lights and then nobody in the stands but I feel we’re doing a great job of feeding off each energy’s energy.”
Celebrating her birthday on Monday, Litwinko received more good news that she had been named America East Rookie of the Week for a second consecutive week in a row. Averaging 9.5 points per game, 5.5 rebounds, and shooting 42 percent from on the field.
“It was at the beginning of practice, I was surrounded by a bunch of people I love spending time with and on my birthday,” Lyzi Litwinko explained.
“All of that combined just kind of made me really happy and an awesome day.”
“I really owe it to my teammates, every day I practice on the court and they really give the confidence I need to go out there and do what I have to do as a point guard and you want to be a leader on the team and coming in as a freshman. Sometimes it’s hard but all of the girls are supporting me.”
“I have always loved crashing the boards, it’s kind of uncommon for a point guard especially 5’8 but it kind of comes easily to me. I love going to get the ball, being a point guard obviously assisting and my teammates are always putting themselves in the right place.”
Litwinko describing the reaction from her family and Berlin High School and the town of Berlin on earning a second-straight America East Rookie of the Week honor …. “My family is very happy, I’m definitely getting a lot of phone calls from them and they’re excited. A couple of teachers’ reached out and e-mailed me so that’s pretty cool. They’re always supportive and everybody from the town showed so much love.”
A busy week for Litwinko, balancing out the rigors of a student-athlete with final exams and basketball practice.
“Especially with so much being online right now, we were converged learning with some of our classes in person and some of them were online and it was kind of an easier transition and made time management more manageable. I’m excited to get back to regular classes and experience all the rushing around.”
With the immense growth of women’s basketball Litwinko is impressed by what she sees transpiring and has a message for younger athletes.
“It’s definitely awesome to see more highlight tapes of high school and college women’s basketball players and seeing the NBA players supporting the NBA. Just stick with what you love, especially if its a sport that makes you feel good about yourself and you’re happy to do it every day.”