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Monday, May 20
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's basketball

Chaplin returns from past injuries

Womens Basketball v. Alaska

Hoosier Nation’s injury woes have been focused on junior Maurice Creek since the announcement of his third, season-ending injury in as many years. However, another Hoosier is going through a similar situation.

IU junior Sasha Chaplin of the women’s basketball team is looking to come back for a strong 2011-12 season after missing a total of 61 games the past three years.

Chaplin’s IU basketball career did not begin well. She was able to play in only the first eight games of her freshman campaign after hurting her knee, but qualified for a redshirt to extend her collegiate career.

Her next season showed much more promise as she played in 20 games and started 16 of them. That season, Chaplin averaged seven rebounds, .95 blocks and .95 steals per game.

Last year, Chaplin faced another setback. She missed the first 10 games of the season because of a toe injury. She then was able to play in only two games before hurting her other knee, forcing her to sit out the remainder of the year.

So many injuries could easily discourage anyone, but Chaplin said she remains positive. She said she sees her struggle to stay healthy as a learning experience.

“It just showed me to embrace every moment I have on the court and give it my all, regardless of the situation,” she said. “All these injuries have shown me to just enjoy every second you have on the court. You could be tired, you could be hurting, but this is the game that I love, so every moment I have I’ll be trying to embrace as much as possible.”

While Chaplin acknowledged that the natural reaction when coming back from a serious injury is to turn the aggressiveness down a notch, she doesn’t intend to let up on the gas.

“I’m trying not to have (an unaggressive) mindset in my mind as I’m playing,” she said. “I’m just trying to not worry about getting it hurt again, not worrying about being injured, just going out and playing basketball with my teammates and having fun.”

Chaplin will indeed need to remain healthy and aggressive to help the Hoosiers this season. After losing four seniors who accounted for 68.7 percent of the team’s total points a year ago, Chaplin is one of four active players who have been at IU for at least three years.

Her teammates know of her importance, whether it’s producing on the court or being a leader off it.

“Once we can keep her healthy, it’s going to be a great thing,” senior guard Alisha Goodwin said. “She definitely has a lot to do with this team’s success, whether she’s on the court or off the court. Just her voice and her passion for the game is very important for this team.”

IU Coach Felisha Legette-Jack is trying to retain Chaplin’s value. With a roster full of depth in the frontcourt, Legette-Jack mentioned experimenting with moving Chaplin to the three spot, away from her normal center position, so that she doesn’t get beat up too much down low.

“She’s an old lady now,” Legette-Jack said. “She can’t be battling every possession, so I don’t mind putting her at the three and letting her shoot some threes.”

Legette-Jack also intends to limit Chaplin’s minutes to ease her back into the rotation. Regardless of where and how much Chaplin plays, Legette-Jack said she knows her junior guard is ready to go.

“She’s not thinking about injuries,” Legette-Jack said. “She’s thinking about
championships.”

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