Point Park alum Peterkin enjoying strong season overseas in Latvian pro league
Dec. 5, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. ET
Joncelyn Peterkin pictured in game in Oct. 2012 for the Latvian pro team Liepajas Papirs. Photo by LSBL.
Point Park University women's basketball alum Joncelyn Peterkin is enjoying a strong season playing overseas for Liepajas Papirs, a team in the professional Latvian league called the LSBL.
Peterkin, a 6-2 center from West Mifflin, Pa., finished up her Point Park career after the 2011-12 season in which she was named All-American Mideast Conference First Team. She is a 2008 graduate of West Mifflin High School.
Through seven games for Liepajas Papirs (4-3) in the 2012-13 season, Peterkin is second on the team in scoring at 10.7 ppg and leads the club in rebounding at 9.9 rpg. The very tall and lanky Peterkin also leads the team with 1.1 blocks per game. She is third on the team at 31.7 minutes per game and is a starter.
"For this being my first pro, overseas experience, I don't think it could be going any better," Peterkin said through email in early November. (See below for more quotes).
Peterkin signed with Liepajas Papirs in early October 2012, and the season opener was Oct. 13. Their next game is Dec. 8 versus Rapla KK-Liepajas. That is the first of four remaining games on the regular-season schedule, which runs through Dec. 22.
Peterkin was a force on the inside during her three-year career at Point Park. She transferred from Carlow after her freshman season. She totaled 725 points, 556 rebounds and a school-record 192 blocks during her three years with the Pioneers. Her career averages were 8.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg and 2.3 bp, and the rebounding total ranks 15th in school history.
Peterkin's best year came as a junior at Point Park when she averaged 10.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg and 2.9 bpg. That year she set the school's single-season record for blocks with 77. She was a big reason why the Pioneers' defense was ranked 2nd in NAIA Division II in scoring defense (51.6 ppg) and 6th in field-goal percentage defense (.334) in 2011-12
She averaged 9.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg and 2.1 bpg as a senior to earn all-conference first-team honors for the 23-7 Pioneers. Peterkin capped off her career with a big game of 17 points, 11 rebounds and one block in a 60-58 loss to No. 10 Corban (Ore.) in the first round of the NAIA Division II National Championship.
Peterkin was a two-time, WPIAL all-section first teamer at West Mifflin High School. She was named to the McKeesport Daily News Fabulous 15 team in 2007-08 when she led the Titans to the WPIAL Class-AAA title game. She averged 10.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 5.6 blocks per game that year.
For Peterkin, the opportunity to play professional basketball overseas came about during the summer of 2012. She attended an overseas scouting combine camp in Las Vegas in July 2012 as her first venture into the process. From that, she signed with an agent, who researched some opportunities for her overseas.
Although the process of the agent doing his work developed slowly over the months of August and September, once she got the call from Latvia in early October, she was headed out of town in a very short time frame.
"We knew it was getting late in the game," Peterkin said through email of her late-summer tryout. "So we did miss some opportunities. But the agent just told me to stay in shape and he would be pushing for me."
Peterkin had offers from teams in Bulgaria and Slovenia who were looking for centers, but she turned them down at the agent's recommendation. Fast forward to the first week in October, and the agent came back with an offer from Liepajas Papirs in the Latvian LSBL.
"After looking over the details and discussing it with my family," said Peterkin, "I decided that I was taking the deal (from LSBL) and would be flown to Latvia within the next few days for the start of the season. It all happened really fast that week."
After making the overseas trip the first week of October, she was there in Latvia for the Liepajas Papirs' season opener Oct. 13.
"My experience so far has been great here," said Peterkin. "My team is great, and my coach is very nice. I've definitely been adjusting to the way the game is played over here. I'm trying to lower my turnovers due to the open-step traveling call that the refs will get you on every time. I've been in the gym practicing trying to get by my opponent off the dribble without taking that open step. And it's been working better the last couple of games.
"Lately I've been working on trying to gain chemistry with myself and teammates. Also trying to get stronger, play at a high level and stay healthy. I try to ice as soon as I feel pain or soreness because we practice twice a day and also practice on game days. I want to do whatever I can to stay healthy."
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Above Image from Oct. 2012 courtesy of LSBL.