Oct. 31, 2005
The Husky women's basketball team is just under a week away from playing its first exhibition. Washington will take on the Northwest All-Stars Sunday, Nov. 6, at 2 p.m. at Bank of America Arena. Junior forward Maggie O'Hara sat down with GoHuskies.com reporter Jonathan Price at last week's media day to talk about recovering from elbow surgery during the offseason, as well as the Huskies' outlook for the year ahead.
GoHuskies.com: How did your summer go?
Maggie O'Hara: "I had to come back from an elbow surgery that I had at the end of the season. I was in a sling for six weeks and then when I got out of that I couldn't do anything with my arm for another six weeks. Basically for about 12 weeks I didn't have a right arm, so I am still kind of in the process of building the strength that I lost. Coming off of that I had a good month of June and July, then once I came back and started playing with the team again I got a stress reaction in the ball of my left foot. I was out again for a little bit, but I was able to come back once we started individuals. I am in the boot right now just because it is still a little sore and we want to take precautions to make sure that it doesn't swell or go back to being a problem again. It was a rough off-season because it was hard for me to be injured. I am not used to not being able to play and it was tough to watch the rest of the team doing all of the conditioning exercises and everything while I just sat there and watched. I felt like when I was able to finally participate, I made a lot of progress and I was able to get a lot of things done. I feel like I am able to catch up now and the coaches are doing a really good job of getting me back into the system and working on the things that I need to improve on. It was a productive off-season even though I wasn't able to play a lot."
GH: Was the elbow injury something from last season that you had to wait until the off-season to address?
MO: "Yes, we actually found out at the beginning of last year that there was no cartilage left in my elbow because of the bone chips that I have had. That is why I wear the elbow pads, because I usually hit my elbows on the floor hard enough to cause bone chips that break down the cartilage. At the beginning of last year I had a very limited range of motion in my elbow and we just tried to maintain the injury because we wanted to wait until the end of the season to address it. I wouldn't have been able to play at all last year if we had done the surgery, so we wanted to wait."
GH: Were you on campus for the majority of summer, despite the rehabbing?
MO: "I took one of the major courses of my biology major to get it out of the way. I took a full term of classes so I had to stay here the whole time."
GH: Did you get a chance to go home at all? MO: "I did get a chance to go home and see my family and hang out with some of my best friends, so that was fun. Between September and the end of summer school I also had about a week to head home again."
GH: What did you gain for experience from last season?
MO: "Perseverance. We knew that we were in a lot of those close games last year and had the ball fallen a different way, so many of those games could have turned out differently. We had some heartbreakers, but we need to just keeping fighting and playing hard. We were able to finish off strong winning something like seven of our last 10 games. Even though we didn't make it to the tournament, I still feel like we ended the year on a high note because we finished strong."
GH: How big is it to have almost everyone returning this year?
MO: "It is amazing because we can go into practice knowing what we need to do. Heidi McNeill is doing a great job being the only freshman and the girls on our team are doing a great job of keeping her on track and letting her know what is going on. Like June (Daugherty) said, sometimes we forget that she is the only freshman on the team this year because we get right into our drills without much explanation of what's going on because we have all of these players that have already been through it all. When we were freshmen we went through everything slowly and had it explained to us so many times because there were a lot of us on the team, but she is the only freshman on the team this year. Heidi is doing an awesome job of going through all of the drills and practices and sometimes she makes it seem as though she isn't a freshman at all."
GH: Do you think that the team benefits from having a tough schedule?
MO: "I think that it is very beneficial and that is the reason why I came to Washington. I wanted to play a tough competition at a good school, and you can only be the best by beating the best."
GH: Does being picked to finish seventh in the Pac-10 motivate this team?
MO: "I think it does. I just know that the Pac-10 is a very strong conference this year and I think that on any given day any team can beat anyone. I think that our ranking has a lot to do with how we played last year. Our schedule probably has a lot to do with that as well, but once you step out on the court it doesn't matter what your ranking is."
GH: Is there a particular game that you are looking forward to?
MO: "I am looking forward to the Baylor game because we played really well against them last year. It will be fun to be able to go on the road to play in that atmosphere against the defending national champions. Utah will also be a fun game, because I was recruited by them and I know a lot of the players on that team, so that will be fun to go up against them."