Maria Weselyj bounces back from last basketball season’s injury
Greg Gagliardi – Special to the Southern News
Sophomore Maria Weselyj wanted to show what being at full health can do for a player. So far, so good.
After having her freshman year cut short due to a devastating ankle injury that required surgery, Weselyj worked all offseason to get her game back. She said that her first year was a time she used to grow up and get ready to be back on the court for the Owls.
“It was a transition year,” said Weselyj. “That helped me prepare for my sophomore season. It also showed me how difficult the Northeast-10 conference is.”
Since coming back from her injury, Weselyj has always been able to score the ball and be one of the top performers for head coach Bret DeSalvo. For someone who bounced back after a tough ankle injury, Weselyj is averaging 15.1 mpg, 6.8 ppg, 37.2 field goal percentage, and 38.1 from behind the arc coming off the bench.
Her perimeter shooting has been on showcase this year as she scored in double figures eight times including a 20 and 16 point game against District of Columbia and Saint Anselm, respectively. But it’s in her defensive that DeSalvo said he saw the biggest improvement.
“She holds her herself accountable to get stops and plays team defense,” he said.
Weselyj said that she has strong relationship with both her coach and teammates that really brings the group closer on and off the court.
“Communication skills is a big part of basketball, and they know where I am going to be at a particular time because they know me as a player,” she said. “In addition, I take criticism from them the best because they know me well enough to know how to approach me and how I will respond. (They’re) my family, not by blood, but surely sisters. They’re great personalities make them who they are.”
In his first full season on the Southern bench, Weselyj said that DeSalvo has had a great impact on her and it has in turn helped her game.
“It has been a pleasant experience,” she said. “He bring a sense of structure to the program and has been flexible when it comes to school, basketball practices, film sessions and home life. “He does a nice job helping us stay focused and motivated for the upcoming games ahead. We can only continue to work hard individually and collectively, and not become complacent by any means.”
Outside of hard work and a great coach. Weselyj said that she has a special relationship with two of her teammates whom she’s had plenty of playing experience over the years.
“I feed the most off of Taylor McLaughlin and Murphy Murad,” she said. “I feel as though this chemistry is because I have played with them throughout my AAU basketball career,”she said. “Due to the fact I have played with them for years, I feel as though because of our history, we know each other as players and it really shows on the court.”
While her college career is still young, Weselyj said that she has thought about the future.
“The closest thing to future basketball plans after college would be coaching an AAU for a year or two” said Weselyj.
She is looking to pursue a degree in exercise science and to eventually get a doctorate in physical therapy. But for right now, DeSalvo will continue to count on Weselyj this season and during the future.
“Maria will be fighting for a starting spot next year,” said DeSalvo.
Photo Credit: Derek Torrellas