By: Katie Obear — Staff Writer
Kelley Austria was a senior member of the University of Dayton women’s basketball team at the start of the 2015-16 season, hoping to graduate and make one last impression on the court before her final season wrapped up.
Unfortunately, her plans dramatically changed when she was injured and forced to be out for the rest of her senior year. Austria suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her left knee. She sustained this injury during a game against the University of Toledo in December of 2015.
The only positive that came out of her injury was that she was granted medical redshirt status, allowing her to continue to play for the Flyers this season and have one last chance at making her mark.
Austria had surgery on her knee at the beginning of 2016, allowing her ample time to recover and train prior to coming back to the team this fall.
This wasn’t the first time that Austria has dealt with injury. She had previously torn her right knee ACL during her sophomore season. That time, Austria could not medically redshirt because she had competed in too many games.
“I think it was helpful having torn it already,” Austria said whimsically in an interview with Flyer News. She shed a positive light on the gruesome injury. “It helped me to expect what the [rehabilitation] process was going to be like. I think it’s gone really well so far.”
“I think there is going to be a little bit of a transition period just to get used to playing and in front of the fans , but it will get better everyday hopefully. I love playing for Coach Greene. I think the transition from her to Jabir was really smooth, which is good for our team and didn’t really miss a beat”
“I think there is going to be a little bit of a transition period just to get used to playing and in front of the fans, but it will get better every day hopefully,” said Austria.
Looking back at Austria’s time on the team, she has received many honors and has been formulaic in the team’s success. In her shortened senior year season she was given the honor of Preseason All-Conference 2nd team and Preseason All-Conference Defensive Team
In her junior season, she started in all 35 of the games, helped the team to a second-place finish in the A10, and was named to the A10 All-Defensive Team and the A10 All-Championship team.
A lot has changed since Austria’s last season with former head Coach Jim Jabir, who stepped down from his position in September. Former UD assistant coach Shauna Green returned to the University to assume the head coaching position.
“I love playing for Coach Green,” said Austria. “I think the transition from [Jabir to her] was really smooth, which is good for our team and didn’t really miss a beat.”
Austria is now a redshirt senior. At 6-feet , she is one of the taller guards on the team. She is a local player, originally from Beavercreek where she attended Carroll High School and played basketball during her four years there.
“She’s getting, every day, into more contact and more game-like situations,” Green said following the Red vs. Blue Scrimmage, in which Austria played. “I think she will get it back. So I think this was really good for her and important. But just her leadership and experience–it’s so good to have her back.”
The team’s season doesn’t officially start until November 13 when they take on Quinnipiac at home. But the Red vs. Blue Scrimmage allowed for students and Flyer fans to see what this team is capable of and get a glimpse of how their season might be.
“My approach to every day and my approach with the girls is one day at a time, one game at a time, one drill at a time, one possession at a time,” said Green. “It’s too tough if, when you start thinking about the nonconference schedule or the whole season, you can’t focus on the process.”
Flyer fans can next see the women’s basketball team in action at home on November 6 in an exhibition game against Grand Valley State.