Each shot made, each defensive stop is the next step in Khristian Hart's road back from last season's devastating knee injury.
"It's like a roller coaster," says the redshirt junior. "Things can be going so well, you're feeling good feeling great, and then things start to decline."
Hart, who was forced to redshirt her freshman year thanks to a different surgery (inserted rods into her tibias to prevent stress fractures) returned to the Lady Aces' lineup December 21st against Toledo and has played limited minutes since. But her impact is felt even when she's on the bench. She's the team's most fervent cheerleader.
"We need that leadership," says coach Oties Epps. "We talk about being positive and doing positive things and having positive emotions."
No one is more positive than the always smiling Khristian Hart. She says she doesn't get her strength from within, but from above.
"My faith, I'm a big Christian, it's my name," she laughs. "It's just the way my parents raised me. And, honestly, you feel better when you're a positive person. The positive to all of this is that I've still got another year to play. I still have a senior year and I want it to be great."
Hart and the Lady Aces will next be in action next Sunday January 26th, on the road at SIU.