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Young gun

Nov. 12, 1999

Redshirt freshman fights back from disk injury

By KRISTIN GILL

Contributor

The Baylor women's basketball team is 'headed for unexpected success' Hilary Akromis said. In some preseason polls, the Lady Bears are picked to finish 11th in the Big 12, but in the player's eyes, that's OK.

'It's much different than last year. We almost did a 180 in the positive direction,' Akromis said. 'We don't really have big name players anymore, so there are no expectations.'

Akromis, a 6-foot-1 inch forward, was supposed to play for the Lady Bears off the bench.

At Churchill High School in San Antonio, she received All-District first team her sophomore through senior years. USA Today gave her an All-American Honorable Mention award. And when she graduated, she was the leading rebounder and scorer in Churchill history.

But, Akromis was unexpectedly redshirted last year when a summer pick-up game resulted in a bulging disk.

After two and half months of pain, she finally went to see a doctor. He found the problem disk in her lower back and told her it was pinching her nerves.

For three weeks straight, Akromis drove home to get a shot, hoping that medication would alleviate some of the pain. The remainder of the doctor's prescription was rest. For the new Lady Bear, rest meant a year away from basketball and watching the games from the stands, where it was 'boring.'

'I don't think I'll ever be 100 percent better, at least not this year,' she said.

Akromis said she feels better these days. The pain is bearable, but still exists. She gets treatments before and after practice, through ice and heat compressions.

'We are really pleased with her progress. It's great to have a redshirt freshman coming in with these abilities,' head Coach Sonja Hogg said.

Akromis isn't the only young player on Hogg's squad. The majority of the team belongs to the freshman class, which makes for a new-look team that must rely on trust in each other to win ballgames. Akromis added, at times, the team will be outmatched in skill and in height, but the team is athletic and can pull off wins, with her help.

'I think I'll play a lot. I won't start, which is always a goal,' Akromis said. 'There are only 11 people on the roster. Everyone will see a lot of playing time this year.

Akromis got her basketball start from her father who is six-foot-seven inches tall. He had her around sports when she was young. She added volleyball and softball to her sports circle in high school, but decided to stick with basketball because of its physicality.

Akromis wants to pursue basketball past the college level, be that playing in the WNBA or coaching a high school. Her major is secondary education and she believes that 'if you get a Baylor University degree, you can a job anywhere.'