Road to recovery nearly over


Expectations are very high for the 1993-94 women’s basketball team, but they are even higher for one particular individual.

Junior forward Angela Lockett will be making her long-awaited return to the court after a one-year layoff due to injury.

Lockett (5-10) was well on her way to becoming a dominant rebounding force when she suffered a major setback two summers ago in Chicago. In a pick-up game with teammates E.C. Hill and Cindy Conner, Lockett injured her left knee badly enough to require reconstructive surgery and was redshirted last season.

“I went up for a rebound and when I landed my knee gave out,” recalled Lockett.

Now she’s on the comeback trail and working hard to get ready for her return to action, but after a long layoff she’s concentrating on one thing.

“I just want to get back into the flow of things,” she said.

The pressure to get back into the flow is very evident. It is not just coming from her teammates, but from the whole Mid-Con Conference as well. In the two years of playing before her injury she earned enough respect that even though she missed a year, she is a pre-season favorite to make First Team All-Conference.

“I’m happy for being picked First Team All-Conference, but right now I don’t think I have the confidence and I’m not really in shape for it,” Lockett said.

Her freshman and sophomore years she was given the NIU Rebounding Excellence Award averaging 7.5 and 8.3 rebounds per game respectively. Her sophomore year she averaged 13.1 points per game and produced 18 blocked shots and 49 steals for the season.

“She was by far the best player we had here at Northern,” said head coach Jane Albright-Dieterle. “Her leadership, her tenacity, just everything she did … she was just starting to bloom.”

She is feeling the pressure from teammates, however and expects to be challenged heavily by players such as Caryn Alexander (6-2), Dana Lau (6-0) and Tracy Williams (6-0), who have been working hard over the summer.

“All of the posts are taller than me, so I have to maneuver and use my intelligence and strengths to overcome my weaknesses,” Lockett said.

Lockett says it’s going to take some time before she is back up to the same level as everyone else. The question, however, is how long does she think she’ll need to be completely in shape and on that same level.

“We’ll give her one game to get back into it,” joked Albright-Dieterle who is counting on Lockett to pick up where she left off.

“I give myself like a month,” Lockett said. “Especially by the time Christmas break gets here I’d like to be in a lot better shape.”

Lockett has had a taste of being behind everyone else before. She didn’t start playing basketball until her sophomore year at Horace Mann High School. It was decided that the best way to get to college was on an athletic scholarship. She walked on to the team and ended up a three-time MVP.

In her first two seasons at NIU, Lockett has played in 67 games and has started 48 of them. She has averaged 10.7 points per game, 7.8 rebounds per game and has 39 blocks and 73 steals.

It appears Lockett will begin the season as a starter again, but not without hard work.

“I’m behind and I’m playing against people that are a lot further than me,” commented Lockett. “I have to put in an extra mile and go to the next level.”

Lockett has something she would like the fans to say when they come watch her make her return.

“They should say, ‘She’s still got it. We can see a little bit of the injury bothering her, but give her time and she’ll be the same Angela Lockett that we’ve always seen.'”