ASU senior guard Maggie Besselink is looking forward to making a comeback for the Sun Devil Women's Basketball team after missing last season due to an injury.
Besselink's impact has already been felt as she contributed to ASU's first season victory. She scored 10 points, grabbed five rebounds and played 18 minutes against the UTSA Roadrunners on Nov. 6.
"Maggie (Besselink), welcome back," head coach Natasha Adair said postgame. "We've been waiting for her. She's worked tirelessly to get back on this court and said she was a spark."
Besselink has averaged 5.3 points and 4.7 rebounds in the first three games this year. Through her first two seasons with the team, she was limited to starting only 21 of the 30 games she played due to injuries.
"There are obvious nerves and butterflies, but that means the athlete cares," Besselink said. "So you don't want to take that away from anybody, especially at this level. But when you step in between those four lines of the court, nothing else matters."
Besselink gave Adair a card to show appreciation for helping her during the recovery process. She mentioned that it was a "dream come true" playing for the coaching staff.
"I'm just elated with joy for her to be able to make her presence felt," Adair said. "I couldn't be happier for a player and a person. Maggie is a great teammate, a great player and a good person. She's worked so hard to be able to be sidelined due to injury. That's hard."
Besselink further credited Adair and the coaching staff for her return to action.
"Coaching has been a huge help in getting me back from day one," Besselink said. "She (Adair) held my hand the whole way with a big smile and helped me breathe through the situation. So, it was amazing."
Besselink was selected to play for the Canada women's U19 national team in the summer of 2019 and could not participate due to an injury she suffered during training camp.
During Besselink's time away from the court, ASU senior guard Jaddan Simmons recognized her hard work and patience, which paid off.
Simmons has been teammates with Besselink since their freshman year and has been impressed with her progress through the years.
"It just comes from her work ethic," Simmons said. "She's always first to the gym because she's been training since all the years she's taken off. She just put in all that hard work, and I think she trusted that she was okay."
Besselink's coaches and teammates are thrilled to have her back in action. The team sorely missed her scoring, rebounding and versatility, and they are excited to watch her comeback story play out.
"Some takeaways from seeing her from freshman year to now is I can already tell that her confidence has grown a lot," Simmons said. "I mean, just watch out for her on the court. We're excited to have her, and she will be a great help."
Edited by Alfred Smith III, Walker Smith and Caera Learmonth.