When Karly Roser sat out 20 of Northwestern's 33 games last season with an upper body injury, it marked the first time in her collegiate career that she missed a game. Her first two seasons on the team, she started every game and averaged 34.5 minutes per game. We asked the senior guard about her injury, her experience playing internationally for Canada this summer and more.
When you got injured last year, it was your first time watching games from the bench. How difficult was that for you mentally?
It was really tough because I was used to being out there, but it was a chance for me to work on my leadership skills off the court and try to be more vocal and kind of mentor our younger players. So, I felt like I grew in that way. It was very challenging – I mean, basketball is a big part of my life, and not being able to have that, it was a big setback and something to deal with, but I think I’m better for it now. It was a good challenge.
Can you talk a bit about your recovery process?
Mostly a lot of rest, obviously no basketball until most of my symptoms were gone, and even then, no contact. I had an MRI scan, and I did some vestibular therapy, which is like eye movements, because I would still get dizzy.
How did playing for Canada during the summer help you prepare for coming back this year?
It was amazing to just get into games and be in a different situation. Also, I love playing internationally. FIBA rules are way different, and it’s much more physical, which is more my style of play. Obviously representing my country is something that I love to do and I’ve done a couple times, so it was really fun.
As a senior, what’s your goal for your final year at Northwestern?
I just want to make it the best year yet. I know we’re still a developing program; we want to get to that point where we’re consistently making the tournament, so hopefully, this will be the first year we can start doing that.
Last year, when you were playing, you were really efficient with a .594 shooting percentage. Are you feeling confident about continuing that into this season?
I worked a lot on my shot, even when I was out, because I couldn’t do any contact stuff, and now, over the summer too. So I feel like I’m a much better shooter and I’m looking more for my own shot rather than deferring to some of my teammates. So, I’m pretty confident in that respect.
You and Alex [Cohen] are the only seniors on the team. Do you guys feel the responsibility of being the team’s leaders, especially with seven underclassmen on the team?
Yeah, for sure. I mean, of course we’ve been here the longest and we’ve seen the program go through a lot of different changes. We’re just trying to lead them in the right direction and bring us to where we want to be and mostly just set a good example on the floor.
What would you say are the team’s biggest strengths this year?
We are very athletic – much more athletic than we have been in the past – so, definitely, transition offense. I also think we have the ability to lock down teams on defense, we just need to buy into that.
Last year, you guys had that late-season slide after a strong start. [Northwestern lost seven straight in-conference games near the end of the regular season.] What are you guys working on to avoid that happening again?
We’ve been talking about starting fast in practice and just carrying that over. We need to get through that hump and just keep pushing, and then towards the end, hopefully, we have enough gas left in the tank.
Any plans for after Northwestern?
Nothing can be definite yet because of NCAA rules, but I’m looking to play overseas, hopefully for a couple years, and still be involved with the national team program. I am a pre-med [student], so possibly applying to med school after that – it’s complicated.