Changing of the Guard

On Dec. 5, the Marist Women’s Basketball Team were off to a sluggish 2-7 start to the 2017-18 season, but things were far from bleak. Rebekah Hand was coming off an electric rookie campaign that saw the Texas-native bring home eight MAAC Rookie of the Week Awards. Forward Alana Gilmer was now eligible to play with guard Grace Vander Weide following not too far behind, and team captain Allie Clement was back after suffering a season-ending ACL tear in November of the prior season.

In a matchup against the University of Rhode Island on Dec. 6, Allie Clement again found herself falling on the court, writhing in pain from a feeling she knew all too well: another torn ACL.

Following her surgery to repair her ACL on Dec. 21, Clement worked an hour-and-a-half a day, six days per week to rehabilitate in preparation for the following year. She doesn’t strive for any statistical goal, nor does she expect her on-court role to be what it once was. Her lone personal goal? Consistency.

“I don’t remember what it’s like to be on the court for five months at a time,” Clement said.

Her personal goal is to remain healthy through the season, a feat that has been difficult to accomplish due to Clement’s injury history. Despite her personal injuries, the team’s current roster depth and positional competition, Clement remains confident that she can contribute in her final year at Marist.

“I trust the coaches and staff to put the right people out there,” Clement said. “I just want to be able to contribute and see our team win and have success. It’s all about me finding my role and my spot again, whatever that may be.”

Clement’s positive mindset entering this season was the driving force behind her rehab. She shows no fear in acknowledging that this season likely marks the end of her playing days. “I’m really motivated to play the game I love, and be out there with my teammates one last time.”

“We look up to her because she always stays positive through her struggles,” said Vander Weide, who slotted into the vacant position at point guard in 2017 following Clement’s second ACL tear. “She’s shown me how to lead, and to always stay positive through adversity.”

“Teammates have asked me how the rehab is going, and that has made my relationship with them more personal,” Clement said. “They all seem to care so much about me coming back, and are excited to see me back on the court.”

Clement’s return this season is a great motivator for her teammates, and a constant reminder that through perseverance, they can find success both on and off the court.

Edited by Matt Rzodkiewicz & Meaghan Roche

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