Michelle Pettigrew said it would have been difficult to get through four years at Wichita State without her friend and roommate.
Tisharria Huggins, a women’s basketball player at WSU from 2000-04, died as the result of a two-vehicle collision Monday night on K-171 in Cherokee County in southeast Kansas. She was working as a
graduate assistant coach for Pittsburg State women's basketball team.
Pettigrew and Huggins competed for playing time at guard. They roomed together for three years and grew close. Even when things got heated, Huggins could find something to laugh about.
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“She could always pick you up,” Pettigrew said. “Anytime the mood was low, she could pick you up. She always had that spark.”
Huggins baby-sat for WSU’s director of athletic academic services Gretchen Torline, who enjoys telling the story about Huggins using yellow rubber dish-washing gloves to change a diaper.
“She was an absolute pleasure to be around,” Torline said. “She had this enormous grin and she was always laughing.”
Huggins was in her first season with the Pitt State program. At WSU, she started 95 games and played in 112 as a guard. She ranks 16th in career scoring, second in career three-pointers, fifth in career assists and sixth in career steals.
“She was a fierce competitor,” Pettigrew said. “I think she would have made a great coach. She was real inspiring.”
Huggins played at Topeka West, where her team won the 2000 Class 5A title. She coached at Ruskin High in Kansas City, Mo., before joining former Heights coach Lane Lord at Pittsburg State.
Huggins recently married and was expecting her first child.
“We’re all in a bit of shock right now," Lord said in a statement. "Tisharria was an incredible young woman and an important part of this team. She was always working to make those around her better, and I feel blessed to have known her."
Huggins played three seasons under Darryl Smith and one for Jane Albright at WSU.
"We are all deeply saddened to have lost a member of the Shocker family," Wichita State athletic director Eric Sexton said. "Tisharria was an excellent example of what a student-athlete and graduate should be and she will be sorely missed."