EWU basketball alumna Tisha Phillips fulfills hoop dreams overseas


Women’s basketball alumna Tisha Phillips waits to check in during the WBI quarterfinals last season. Phillips recently returned from a one-month professional contract in Ireland. | The Easterner Archives

By Taylor Newquist, Reporter

Former EWU women’s basketball player Tisha Phillips recently returned to the U.S. after signing and playing a one-month professional contract with the Liffey Celtics, in the Irish Women’s Superleague.

Phillips played two regular season games and two playoff games for the Celtics. She scored her international career-high 21 points in the league’s championship game, where the Celtics would ultimately lose by 13 to Ambassador UCC Glanmire.

“I feel like I made a good positive impact on the team,” Phillips told The Easterner. “The team didn’t exactly know what I was capable of when I got there so that was the hard part, but when it came down to it I made my presence known.”

The short length of the contract was to fill the need for two American players on the Celtics roster. Phillips signed on to the opportunity to try and gain some experience, while not committing herself to anything long-term.

“I had turned down a few offers before that,” said Phillips. “Mainly because I was scared to leave, and not knowing what it was going to be like […] The contract was only for a short period of time so I figured why not, it was enough to get my feet wet.”

Aside from basketball, Philips said she did touristic things to enjoy herself. She also drove on the left side of the road for the first time.

“It was very green,” said Phillips. “Everyone spoke English with mild to strong accents, and I could read everything so it wasn’t too much of a culture shock.”

The transition into playing for the Celtics didn’t seem to phase Phillips. In her first game with the team she led all scorers with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field. Phillips didn’t notice any dramatic changes in playstyle, and said that it didn’t take her long to find her role.

“Playing at EWU prepared me for a lot,” said Phillips. “Discipline, work ethic, fundamentals, mental toughness. I grew so much as a player since my freshman year to now.”

Phillips played in 113 games for the Eagles during a four-year career. She is eighth all-time in steals at 164 and tenth in assists at 299. She scored 886 points in her time at EWU, for an average of 7.8 points per game, and helped the team to back-to-back 20-win seasons in 2014-15 and 2015-16.

Now, Phillips’ time with the Celtics has ceased. She is currently waiting for what is next to come, but is unsure about her future as a professional player.