Hart still counting the days until her return

Khristian Hart

Khristian Hart

It’s been almost 50 days since Khristian Hart, then the leading scorer for the UE women’s basketball team, tore her anterior cruciate ligament and ended her sophomore season early.

Hart tweeted Wednesday: “What’s considered doing too much on a reconstructed ACL almost three weeks out? I need answers.”

Yes, the Harrison High School graduate can’t wait to get back on the court.

Hart’s ailment was one of many this season that transformed the Aces from Missouri Valley championship contenders in January to the league’s No. 7 seed at the conference tournament, where they fell to 10th-seeded Southern Illinois in the first round.

Still, UE saw gains, specifically in an inexperienced backcourt. After Hart went down injured, sophomore guard Kat Taylor (15 points versus Northern Iowa) and freshman guard Laura Friday (14 points versus Missouri State) both set new career highs.

“I think it made us better not having K Hart,” coach Oties Epps said recently. “Some kids had to step up and be more of a scorer for us or be more of a distributor for us. It took time for certain kids to do those things, but I’m hoping it gave them that confidence in having a larger role that they had and that will carry over into the postseason.”

Hart’s game developed in 19 games this year. She started as a spot-up shooter but, by the time she was injured, she regularly drove the lane and got to the free throw line.

The redshirt sophomore, who averaged 13.6 points per game, had a successful surgery to repair her ACL earlier this month.

“We haven’t really talked much about a timeline for her to be back,” Epps said. “We just want her to do her rehab, and when she’s 100 percent physically and mentally, where she can step out there and compete and work on the things we need her to do without having any doubts about her knee, then that’s when we’re going to get her out there. We don’t know when that is, but she has a great attitude.

“She’s been through two other major surgeries prior to her knee. She came back from those surgeries better than before, so mentally she knows she can get through this — maybe even picking up where she left off would be great as well.”

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