Stanford’s women’s basketball team has begun preparations for next season, with players now participating in skill-work sessions with coaches. But the biggest part of offseason preparation is getting everyone healthy.
The Cardinal had a number of injuries that could have hurt the team last season, but coaches Tara VanDerveer and Amy Tucker figured out ways to mask the problems, enabling the team to go undefeated during Pac-12 play and reach the Final Four for the fifth straight season.
It appears Mikaela Ruef and Jasmine Camp, both of whom missed most of the season with injuries, will be ready for next season, although there remains some concern about Alex Green, who was sidelined for the nearly entire 2011-2012 season. Also, Sarah Boothe has another year of college eligibility remaining, but she will graduate this spring and will not return to play basketball next fall.
Green is a speedy 5-9 combo guard who was expected to help the Cardinal last season as a freshman, but she tore her Achilles tendon in practice on Nov. 18, putting her out for the season after playing in just two games. This is one of the worst injuries a player can have. She continues to rehab but is a bit behind schedule as of late April, and coaches are hoping she will be ready by the time preseason practice rolls around next fall. When she returns, she will have missed a lot of court time, so it remains to be seen how quickly she can regain her skills and her speed.
The news is better for Ruef and Camp. Ruef had foot surgery in March after being bothered by plantar fasciitis, and she is expected to be cleared to play in June. Camp is on a similar timeline and should be able to do basketball-specific drills by the summer. Camp had become the team’s starting point guard as a freshman before sustaining a stress fracture in her foot that required surgery, ending her season. Ruef was seeing increased playing time late in her freshman season in 2010-2011, but she played in only three games this past season because of the foot problem.
All three players could make contributions next season if they are healthy.
The remaining players are healthy at this point and are participating in the spring skills practices.
One other note: Former Stanford All-American Kate Starbird was hired as a professor at the University of Washington in the Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering, as noted by this Seattle Times blog. She is finishing up her PH.D. at the University of Colorao this summer.
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