It had been a while since Tina Roy took the court for a competitive basketball game.
But she’s still got that hair, and that 3-point shot.
Both were on display Sunday, as the former USC women’s basketball guard poured in 25 points at the South Carolina Women’s Pro-Am, her perfectly coiffed locks barely moving as she fired off shot after shot from beyond the arc.
And after her team advanced to the championship with a narrow win, she was still greeted by plenty of fans who remember her as one of the program’s best ever from long range and a constant presence from 2011 to 2016, during which she played 139 games, tied for most in USC history.
“Just the other day, somebody said, ‘I just realized that you were the girl that played for USC.’ I was like, ‘Yes sir.’ It’s a lot of people, still,” Roy said. “It’s a good feeling. I left a good impact on the game and the kids and everybody who’s still playing.”
It’s an impact Roy, originally from Kaplan, Louisiana, still gets to see on a daily basis in Columbia — she now works for the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, managing body cameras
“Everybody’s still, ‘Oh, you’re the basketball player,’” Roy said of her reputation in the department. “It’s a good atmosphere, and I feel like the fact that I was on a basketball team, it ties into being in the sheriff’s department, because you’re a team. It takes the same characteristics and qualities.”
Roy joined the department after her attempts at a pro basketball career ended with a training camp invite to the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream and a brief stint in the Women’s Minor League Basketball Association.
While training, she fired a gun for the first time and got the chance to translate her basketball skills into a different setting, she told WLTX at the time.
Nowadays, she’s never too far from the sport and the program that defined her life for five years — on lunch breaks, she often visits coach Dawn Staley and the team’s new players, with whom she still feels a connection.
And after playing in the Women’s Pro-Am the summer after she graduated, she returned this summer after a long stretch away from the game.
“I hadn’t played in two, two and a half years, so just to get up and down — I do miss the game, so this is the way I came back. Seeing everybody, all my former teammates, is good. Especially when you’re playing with your old teammates, it’s like we have chemistry already,” she said.
After three games, Roy seems to have knocked away any rust from that layoff — her 25 points were a personal best in the tournament and tied for the second most by any player Sunday.
But even after this upcoming Sunday’s championship game at Sonny’s Sportsplex, USC fans can expect to keep seeing Roy around in the community and at Colonial Life Arena when the Gamecocks return to action in November. And while Staley and her players will have a massive gap left by A’ja Wilson to fill this season, Roy said she is confident 2018-2019 will be another good year for Carolina.
“They’re going to do a pretty good job. The SEC definitely is tough, but I believe in them,” she said.