When the Michigan women’s basketball team blew out Indiana, 66-48, on Jan. 22, the entire roster saw time on the court.
Well, everyone except freshman guard Aquashia Anderson.
It seemed likely that the Meridian, Miss. native would receive a redshirt after she noticeably remained sidelined when the Wolverines cleared the bench, but Michigan coach Kevin Borseth didn’t specify her status throughout the year.
Most incoming freshmen struggle to adjust to the college level, and on top of this transition, Anderson tore her ACL last spring. This limited her preparation and development in the preseason, and Borseth thought the best decision would be to hold her back and let her regain full health.
“I don’t know that her knee was completely healed when we started the year,” he said. “Rather than insert her in for one emotional moment, when in all reality her chances of being able to complete for a long period this year weren’t likely, I just weighed one against the other on her better behalf. It was wise for her to not play this year.”
Anderson joined Michigan following a senior campaign replete with honors. She was a Mississippi All-State selection and played in the North versus South state all-star game. Her natural position is point guard, but with senior Courtney Boylan as the current floor general, Anderson likely wouldn’t have seen much playing time anyway.
“Aquashia right now is a lead guard type of person,” Borseth said. “She probably pushes the ball up the floor better than anyone we have, and that’s really what she does well. She sees the floor in transition and that’s what her strength is.”
Boylan stressed that it’s tough to come back from a torn ACL because you lose a little confidence. Though Boylan has never suffered a similar injury, she believes it would be nerve-wracking to come back on your knee. Despite that fear and struggle, Anderson seems to have come into her own this year in practice. Boylan referenced her impressive passing in practice and point-guard mentality.
But even after her struggles to come back from the injury, Anderson is confident in her ability to contribute next season. Similar to Boylan, who stands at 5-foot-7, Anderson is just an inch taller at 5-foot-8. Regardless of her being a little undersized, Borseth has confidence in Anderson’s ability to bounce back from the injury and be a factor.
“I think slowly, but surely, she’s been getting her strength back in her knee,” Borseth said. “I don’t know if she’s really tapped her potential at this point, but she’s working at it.”
Freshman guard Brenae Harris saw a decent amount of action during the season and looks to be in the lead for the starting-point-guard position for next season, but Anderson still could play a considerable role coming off the bench.
Anderson has been learning from some of the best in the Big Ten this season, and she will look to translate the experience she’s gained watching from the bench into minutes next season on the floor.
She knows that having the extra season will be beneficial to her development as a player, and in the future, it should benefit her career as a Wolverine. Whether or not she will make an impact next season is impossible to predict, but if called upon, she has faith in herself.
“(I’ll do) whatever coach feels like I can do,”Anderson said when asked what she sees in store for her next season. “If he believes I can do it, I can do it.”