Smicherko’s Senior Season Dreams Torn by Injury

Josh Horton, Reporter

Senior point guard Lauren Smicherko had a vision of how her final season as a Cougar basketball player was going to go.

It didn’t involve her team missing the playoffs, and it certainly didn’t involve her tearing her ACL early in the season, an injury that changed the shape of the lineup and left the Cougars without their point guard, one of the most important positions on the floor.

“I felt so bad for her when she went down,” senior forward Hannah Seely said. “Injuries in general completely changed the season and when we envisioned how
this season was going to go in the beginning of the year, it ended up not going like that at all.”

Smicherko’s injury happened when she was doing something she has done thousands of times before – just jumping for a shot. However, this particular shot felt like no other she had ever taken in her basketball career.

“It felt like I got kicked in the back of the leg,” Smicherko said. “I had no idea how serious the injury was when it first happened.”

She went into the auxiliary court to try to prove to the trainers that she could make cuts and run sprints. She passed an eye test and got approval to go back into the game.

She didn’t quite make it.

“I sucked it up for the most part, and when I tried to walk over to the table to check back in the game my leg just kept giving out. I couldn’t walk without limping after that.”

Because her injury occurred so early in the season, she had the option to pursue another year of eligibility. She graduates in May but has applied to the organizational management graduate program and will have a chance to get back on this fall.

“I have been back and forth on the idea of grad school for a while,” Smicherko said. “So, this just pretty much made up my mind for me.”

Smicherko said the toughest part about missing the majority of the 2013-2014 basketball season was watching her teammates play, knowing there was nothing she could do to contribute.

“Sometimes I felt like I let the team down even though there was obviously nothing I could do about that,” Smicherko said. “I just wanted to check myself into the game at some points, but since I couldn’t do that, I tried to cheer as loudly as possible. I wanted to give the best feedback I could to my teammates.”

Senior Katie Drayton had to step up and play point guard in Smicherko’s absence, She wasn’t the most experienced point guard, but she worked hard.

“We struggled with numbers a little bit this year, and we had no backup point guard,” Smicherko said. “That was tough for everyone to get used to for a while, but (Drayton) stepped up and handled the point really well, especially since it was the first time she had to play that position.”

The injuries were a factor all year for the women’s team and it seemed as if they couldn’t catch a break. The lack of depth and injuries contributed to the Cougars finishing the season 9-15. They missed post season for the second straight season.

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