ELKO – Some people may think of Siri as the little voice from an iPhone or iPad that aids people with directions, choosing restaurants, shopping locations, hotel accommodations or numerous other decisions and activities.
Kyla Siri, on the other hand, is well known for her winning career in the high school ranks of Nevada basketball and throughout the Northwest for terrorizing whichever colleges she plays against with her left-handed drives and shots.
A 2012 graduate of Spring Creek High School, Siri and the Lady Spartans wreaked havoc on the rest of the Silver State, winning three state championships in four years.
Following the beginning of a very promising year in her sophomore season at Southwestern Oregon Community College, Siri tore her ACL in her right knee – the second occurrence of the same injury in her other leg clear back in seventh grade.
Before she tore up her right knee, Siri was tearing up other things – namely the schools of the Northwest Athletic Conference – averaging 16.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.9 steals, and 2.7 assists per contest. Unfortunately, she played in 12 games during the 2013-2014 season, which was six more than the amount of contests in order to receive a medical redshirt.
Despite missing more than half of her final season, Siri was named SWOCC’s female scholar athlete of the year. She was a two-time All-Academic selection.
She rehabbed all summer last year, working out at SCHS during her time off from school.
In the fall of 2014, Siri transferred to Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon – a suburb of Portland – competing for the Lady Boxers basketball program.
Under head coach Sharon Rissmiller, Siri came off the bench as the “sixth man,” the first player to sub in for a departing starter. Still trying to get her legs under her – literally – Siri averaged 6.2 points per game in 18 minutes of playing time.
The senior-laden Lady Boxer team from a year ago will look like a totally revamped squad, and Siri could potentially benefit in a big way. She is the only returning senior.
Siri will likely receive a starting role at the No. 2 position, otherwise known as the shooting guard.
Not only did numerous players depart, so did coach Rissmiller, accepting the Director of Basketball Operations at Oregon State University.
Enter newly-hired Jennifer Mountain to the helm of the Pacific women’s basketball team. Mountain comes with high praise and a lot of experience. She was the head coach of Division-I program Santa Clara University for five seasons. She was also the head assistant coach at Gonzaga University. Most recently, Mountain was an assistant coach at Portland State University.
Following Siri’s academic success at SWOCC, she kept her head in the books during her junior campaign at Pacific – a private, Christian school – earning dean’s list honors with a 3.7 GPA, which was in the top 18 percent of the student body.
“The school is tough academically. You don’t have much of a social life, but it is very rewarding in the end,” said Siri. “I changed my major from secondary math to elementary education. I will receive my bachelor’s degree in the spring and then go back to get my master’s degree the next year.”
Her skills on the court and in the classroom have reaped scholarships for Siri, accounting for more than half of her annual expenses at Pacific.
Siri has played basketball all summer, continuing her rehab process and keeping her game sharp.
“I have really tried to maintain my shooting rhythm and consistency, and I have worked on my ball handling,” Siri said. “Staying in shape in the offseason is important. It seems like if you lose it, getting it back is tough.”
As with any injury – but especially two ACL tears – Siri has her good and bad days.
“I still have screws and pins in both knees – so they crack and pop – and some days I get pretty sore, especially when the weather is cold,” said Siri. “I played without my brace the other day, and my knees feel really good. I will play at the city courts a couple more times before I go back to school.”
Ending a hobby or a sport at any level can be a difficult decision and lifestyle change, so Siri is not looking forward to hanging up her sneakers.
“I’m sad it will be done after this year. I have pretty much lived for competitive basketball,” Siri said. “But I’m excited to go back and play. Hopefully, we will have a good season.”
If Siri’s knees are feeling good and can remain intact during her senior season at Pacific, she may very well regain her form from her sophomore season at SWOCC – which would be bad news for the rest of the Northwest Conference.
After graduating, Siri hopes that she can do the next-best thing to playing basketball – coaching.