In 2010, Pacific's freshman guard Kaylin Randhawa first set foot into the Spanos Center on a night in which the arena was packed. The Tigers were taking on Connecticut while the perennial powerhouse was in the midst of a 90-game-win streak.
Randhawa, a native of Turlock, remembers that first trip to Spanos well, but she wasn't there to see her future team.
"In the Champions Room here in the athletic building, there's a picture from that game against UConn. I'm in the background of it. I was supporting UConn at the time, but here I am playing for Pacific now," she said with a wry smile.
At that point in her life, Randhawa wasn't thinking about playing for UConn or Pacific. She said she didn't think she'd be playing basketball anywhere. She hadn't really started to play and certainly hadn't developed into the lengthy six-foot-two-inch guard that she is today.
In the time between that game against UConn and now, Randhawa fell in love with the sport. Her two older siblings both played and her brother, Amar, took Kaylin under his wing to teach her the sport. When she was in seventh grade she told her brother that she wanted to play Division I basketball, and the two began pouring hours into the gym to get her ready.
A guard since she began playing the game, she started off focusing on her ball handling which she said just came naturally to her. When she did hit her growth spurt in high school, she never moved to the post and continued to play at the top of the key.
"My height helps a lot. When I've got someone smaller on me, I can post them up and get the ball down low. It works out for the best and I just use it to my advantage, she said."
That height made Randhawa a strong guard at the high school level. She was a four-time All-League selection and helped improve Pitman's overall record each year she played there. She led the Pride to its first title in the Pitman Holiday Classic in school history as was named as the Tournament's MVP. As a senior, she averaged 14.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and more than a block and a steal per game.
When it came time for Randhawa to decide on where to continue her education and playing career, she chose Pacific. When she, with her brother by her side, came on her official visit to Pacific, it was the first time she stepped foot back into Spanos since the UConn game in 2010.
She said Pacific's coaching staff made the decision on where to play an easy one, and that Pacific's speedy style of play fits her game perfectly.
"I knew where ever I went a big factor would be the coaches. I've always had my brother, so I've always had a relationship with my coaches where I could go to them for anything even if it wasn't related to basketball. I couldn't go somewhere where I didn't have that type of comfort level."
Going forward, Randhawa's goals are high. She wants to be a conference champion and added that this team currently has the pieces do that. From an individual standpoint, she hopes to add plenty of accolades to her resume.
"First, I just want to come in and help the team. But long term, I've got big goals," she said. "I like to set the bar as high as possible. I want to be the West Coast Conference Player of the Year. I want to be the Freshman of the Year. I want to be on the first team. I aim to be up there."
Randhawa can start taking steps toward being the WCC Freshman of the Year on Nov. 8, when the Tigers open the regular season at home against William Jessup.
*This story is the second story in a series of five introducing the newest members of the Pacific women's basketball team. Links to previous stories are included below.*