UK Women's Basketball

Carly Ormerod eyes big finish

Carly Ormerod tweaked her ankle once in high school and was devastated that she had to sit out for a game.

It was the only game she missed in her career until last year.

Before last season, Ormerod had lived a charmed basketball life.

The 2005 Miss Basketball won three straight state championships while at Sacred Heart. She was the first player in state history to win Sweet Sixteen Most Valuable Player as a freshman, and then she became the only player to win the honor twice when she was named MVP her junior year.

Ormerod got quiet when she was asked to recall last season's time on the sidelines with a complex foot injury.

"It was a terrible, terrible year," she said to one reporter at last week's Media Day.

"It was a tough year all around," she told another.

"It was a difficult year for me mentally and physically," she told the next.

"I knew I was supposed to be out there on the court, but I wasn't," she continued. "It was a hard year."

Sitting out was made less comfortable and more annoying for Ormerod when backup Amber Smith went out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

The team was without a point guard and Ormerod was without answers.

Her injury was a complicated combination of a hyperextension of the large joint that connects her left big toe to her foot (turf toe) and an irritation of her sesamoid bone, which supports that joint.

"I thought if I was off of it and rested it for two weeks it would be all better," she said last season.

That's not how it turned out. Two weeks of rest turned into more than a month of rest.

Not knowing when she would return made her time on the sidelines even more difficult.

But the time off might turn out to be a blessing in disguise. It's made her want to make her senior year something special.

"I want to make this my best year here," she said. "I'm a senior; it's been a dream come true to play here at Kentucky and I want to make this year worthwhile. Especially after last year."

UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said it was tough watching Ormerod go through last season.

It was difficult to play without her, too. In her first two seasons as UK's point guard, Ormerod averaged 9.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists.

Last season, she managed only 5.3 points (on 26 percent shooting), 2.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists.

"She has been such a steady performer while she's been here," he said. "Just her ability to manage a game, to make plays, to get to the basket, to make threes. (Losing) all of that was devastating to us last year."

Ormerod and UK hope her injury is behind her.

They need the point guard — who will probably spend more time at shooting guard so she can play at the same time as Smith — to start scoring some points.

"She's emerged as a player that wants this to be a special season," Mitchell said. "She needs to score for us. She needs to have that in her mindset; when she's open, she needs to shoot."

The 5-foot-8 guard doesn't mind the position switch so far.

"It gives me a better chance to score," she said. "One or two (guard), it doesn't matter. I just want to be out there on the floor."

Perhaps more important than scoring, Mitchell said a relatively young team with just one returning starter needs Ormerod's leadership.

"It's Carly's senior year; she has expressed to me a desire to go out in a very special way, so she's been very willing to do whatever we've asked her to do," he said. "It's going to be very important for her to truly show some leadership, some very strong leadership on this team."

Career statistics

Season Games Assists Rebs. Min. Avg.

2005-06 31 3.3 3.0 31.1 9.6

2006-07 34 3.6 3.7 30.4 9.8

2007-08 16 1.5 2.3 19.0 5.3