When most players say they couldn't sleep during the post-season, it's because they were nervous and anxious.
For University of Kentucky guard A'dia Mathies it was because her lower back felt as if it were on fire and being jabbed with a steak knife.
Slowly, her back pain became so unbearable last March that she could barely move.
"I'd stay up the whole night," the 5-foot-9 junior from Louisville said. "That was the worst it ever was."
For a player who had never been slowed by an injury, it was agonizing.
She would try to play through the pain, but it got worse. She'd try to rest her back and it got worse again.
"It was just a bad year for me last year," said Mathies, UK's top returning scorer, who averaged 12.8 points and 4.7 rebounds last season.
This past summer, just when she thought she was getting better, the muscles in her back would contract again until she could barely breathe.
It happened at the USA Basketball Women's World University Games team trials.
"I remember thinking, 'Man, I hope this isn't starting all over again,' " she said.
But slowly as summer faded to fall, Mathies started to notice that she was able to again do all of the things that made her the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year in 2009-10.
Now that Mathies, who led UK in assists last season with 89, is "all the way healthy," she hopes to live up to the pre-season projections that have her voted as first-team All-SEC.
Coach Matthew Mitchell expects this to be a special season for the junior, who can and has played every position on the floor for Kentucky.
"When A'dia Mathies is playing well, she's one of the best players I've ever been around," he said. "The way she's carrying herself gives me a lot of confidence going into tomorrow night's game."
That game is No. 18 Kentucky's season opener at Morehead State, a team the Cats have beaten eight straight times. Their home opener is Tuesday morning versus Jacksonville State.
Mitchell thinks this can be a special season for Kentucky in large part because of the promise of a healthy Mathies.
"A'dia — if she's in attack mode — she'll be a big-time player and she'll be a significant part of our offense," he said.
In his two seasons with Mathies, he's learned that she's methodical and basketball-savvy, so he sits down with her before games to point out places within the offensive scheme that he believes she can get her points.
Mitchell is just happy to have his star junior — and her back — back at 100 percent.
"Up to this point, she's put all of those concerns to rest as we go into this season opener," he said of her injury. "She's in a really good place right now mentally and emotionally."