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Women’s Basketball: After missing all last season, Schrader returns, injury-free

Bill Brink | Thursday, October 11, 2007

Lindsay Schrader found not only the silver lining of the injury that kept her out all of last season, but a way to profit from it.

The junior guard, who tore her ACL on the fourth day of practice last year, is back – and brought with her a slew of benefits from sitting out the 2006-07 season.

“It made me an all-around player, definitely on and off the court,” Schrader said. “It was tough for me in the beginning, but I definitely pulled away a better person and a better player. I’m definitely where I need to be.”

As a freshman, Schrader averaged 10.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. A little over a year after the injury, Irish coach Muffet McGraw says Schrader was ready to go.

“She’s probably 90 percent,” McGraw said. “She looks really good. She’s strong, relentless, attacking, fearless. She’s one of the best players on the team.”

Schrader’s interpretation of her physical condition was slightly more optimistic.

“I’m 120 percent right now,” she said.

Suffering through the long rehabilitation took its toll on Schrader, and the hardest part of the injury was being relegated to the sidelines.

“I’ve always been a person who’s always been on the court,” she said. “Me taking it off was really bad. The rehab was definitely hard, but not playing was killing me the most.”

Schrader said that, while not playing was the main consequence, missing other aspects of team involvement also made the time off more difficult.

“The little bonding things that we had during practice, team dinners, stuff like that,” she said. “Or the announcer calling my name. That’s the things I really, really miss the most.”

Teammates said that Schrader brought intensity to the team in her freshman year, something that the team may need after its weak perimeter defense last season.

“Lindsay brought a lot of intensity all the time,” senior guard Tulyah Gaines said. “Her whole aura about her is like an intense player, she’s never going to quit.”

McGraw said the Irish will play a four-guard system this season, something the team began to learn last year. Although unable to practice the offense, Schrader said her time on the sidelines enabled her to better understand the intricacies of the system.

“Now I have a complete understanding of where I’m supposed to go, what I’m supposed to do,” she said. “And if it wasn’t for my injury, or if I didn’t sit out, I wouldn’t have been able to see it actually run.

“Just because we put in our brand new offense, I saw it run against a defense. I completely understand now what coach was talking about.”

McGraw agreed and said that Schrader’s time off gave her a chance to grasp the game better than before.

“I think she learned a lot. She listened to her coaches. She conceived things a lot differently,” McGraw said. “She’s so happy to be out on the court. Sometimes we have to reign her back in, because she is so excited to be out there.”

One thing Schrader was excited about was the chance to play with the sophomore class, alongside guards Melissa Lechlitner and Ashley Barlow and center Erica Williamson.

“I just can’t wait to see what we’ll be able to do and what we’re capable of,” Schrader said.

Schrader seemed to have found the benefits in the worst of situations, but now faces her favorite situation – getting back on the court once again.

“I haven’t played another team in a year and a half,” she said. “I was even excited for last year when this happened so I’m double excited now.”