Former Elite 8 Winner Goodrich Perseveres Through Physical Hardships

KU's Angel Goodrich totaled 12 points and a game-high 8 assists in Tuesday's 76-59 loss at Oklahoma State.

KU senior point guard Angel Goodrich didn't make it the post-game press conference with head coach Bonnie Henrickson following Tuesday night's loss in Stillwater. She was receiving treatment for an undisclosed hand injury.

After waiting around for another 20-25 minutes, I was finally able to track down the Sequoyah graduate and former Tulsa's Channel 8 "Elite 8" Award winner to talk about her basketball career in Lawrence. The third finger (ring) on her right hand was splinted to a small piece of hard plastic.

Goodrich said she didn't know the extent of the injury or whether she would miss time. But she wasn't overly concerned. After the injuries Angel has suffered in college basketball, hurting her ring finger is a "walk in the park."

Like just about all of our "Elite 8" overall winners, Sequoyah's Angel Goodrich would go on to play college basketball. The high school All-American arrived at the University of Kansas in fall of 2008 as one of the top point guard recruits in the country.

Angel's freshman season was seemingly over before it started. She tore her ACL in her left knee during her second practice. It was the first major injury of Goodrich's entire playing career.

"I was a little shocked," Goodrich recalls. "I had only heard of other people tearing their ACL's. Then I was like wow, my first year that happens."

After spending her entire freshman year rehabilitating her torn ACL, Goodrich comes back the following season and is off to a great start in her sophomore year. She becomes the fastest player in KU women's history to reach 100 assists in a season, needing only 13 games.

Her repaired right knee had never felt better and Angel played like it. During a home game against Oklahoma State in January of 2010, Goodrich streaked down the court for what could be uncontested lay up. What proved to be the only opposition -- her other knee.

Angel tore the ACL in her right knee this time. Her teammates helped her off the court as her season was ending after just 15 games. Goodrich smiles now when reflecting on what appeared to be the unluckiest of circumstances.

"You only question yourself when things like that happen but everything happens for a reason," explained Goodrich. "You may not know the reason at the time but I've grown a lot from both of them."

For Angel, the hardest part of this rehabilitation process wasn't the physical work involved as much as the psychological strain. Goodrich said, "Physically it was painful but you always question whether you're going to be the same player you were before."

Goodrich admits she isn't the same player she was before -- she's even better. Angel was a second team All-Big 12 selection last year while leading the nation in assists per game. And her numbers this season are comparable. Despite Tuesday's setback in Stillwater, the Kansas Jayhawks are still ranked in the top 25 and Goodrich is determined to make it the best season of her career.

As Angel put it, "I'm stronger in both knees and overall it's been a great experience for me; a hard experience but it's helped me grow."