Lady Bulldogs’ James hopes to cap career with injury-free season

Aches and pains have been as much of a part of Jasmine James’ career as jumpers and rebounds.

Lady Bulldogs' James hopes to cap career with injury-free season
Roger Clarkson

Preseason practice for James’ senior year began last week. This time, the senior guard hopes she can manage to pull through without a bite from the injury bug.

“You definitely try to look forward to an injury-free season,” James said. “A lot of things have been done as far as better conditioning and better nutrition and diet and different things like that to try to remain as healthy as possible. It’s a contact sport for the most part so things are going to happen. You can’t control those things for the most part, so you just try to stay as healthy as possible.”

Georgia has moved into its second week of preseason practice leading into the season opener on Nov. 11 against Rutgers at Stegeman Coliseum. The Lady Bulldogs will take part in the BasketBASH preseason pep rally at 7 p.m. on Friday at Stegeman Colisuem.

Georgia finished the 2011-12 season with a 22-9 record but departed the NCAA tournament in the first round after a 76-70 loss to Marist.

“I think that was motivation to get in the gym more and shoot more and just do all the little things more,” Georgia senior forward Jasmine Hassell said. “It’s given us a lot of motivation because we don’t want that to happen again. We’re not really doing different, we’re just doing it more. We’re investing more time and effort than we have before.”

James fought through her second straight frustrating season of spending at least as much time in the training room as in practice with a sprained knee that never seemed to get better. James missed seven games last season and averaged career-lows in points (10.6) and minutes (33.8) per game.

“I’m hopeful that she can avoid those injuries this year,” Georgia coach Andy Landers said. “I’m hopeful for many reasons. She’s already had her share of bad luck. That’s one. But the big one is that there wasn’t a morning this summer when she wasn’t already on the court when I got to the office at 7 or 7:15 in the morning. This was above and beyond everything she’s done before.”

Although none of James’ injuries have been the kind to sit her down for weeks at a time, they tended to come during the seasonal cycle and forced her to miss either practice time or isolated games or both. As a freshman in 2009-10, James had a bone bruise in her knee that knocked her out of much of preseason practice. James didn’t start her first game as a freshman but she went on to start 55 straight games until a sprained wrist knocked her out of a contest against Alabama as a sophomore. As a junior last season, James sprained her knee against Montana State in the 11th game of the season and missed two games. She re-sprained it against Mississippi State ended up missing a career-high seven games.

“The wrist injury was on my shooting hand and the knee injury, was, well they are what they are,” James said. “I just had to figure out different ways to rehabilitate and try to play through them and get back at it. It just seemed like they always came at the most difficult points in SEC play and things like that. But we always tried to figure out ways around it.”

Despite the injuries, James has become one of the cornerstones for the program. She is a four-year starter. James hit the buzzer-beating shot that knocked Florida State out of the 2011 NCAA tournament. James has become both the vocal and emotional leader.

“I don’t think it’s really held her back,” Hassell said. “Of course, it’s kept her from playing as much as she would want. But I think as much as anything it’s made her stronger instead of defeated her. I think it’s made her a better player because it’s given her more determination.”

Georgia ranked No. 12 in preseason coaches’ poll

by Marc Weiszer

Georgia landed in the top 15 in the preseason college football coaches’ poll for the third straight season. Lady Bulldogs' James hopes to cap career with injury-free... Full Story

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When was the last time #UGA had a former walk-on make the cover of People magazine? http://t.co/9GMAmyjPkK

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