Missouri's Hudyn finds her way into starting lineup

Hudyn has reached both her first career start and a career-high in points in her last three games.
Missouri Tigers forward Michelle Hudyn (12) in action Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015 at the Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Mo. Texas A&M beat Missouri 55-48.

As one of the earlier, and one of many, injuries on the Missouri women’s basketball team, junior forward Michelle Hudyn was lucky enough to find herself back on track last month.

After suffering a stress reaction in her shin during the preseason, Hudyn was given an indefinite diagnosis for time she would miss, and was ultimately forced to miss the first 10 games of the season.

“It was kind of frustrating (to sit out), just because it was one of those injuries where it was rest that I needed to have,” Hudyn said. “It wasn’t a strict timeline, it was just about how my body was healing. I tried to give positive encouragement whenever I could, because it was the way I was going to impact the team.”

Hudyn was able to find her way onto the floor, even if it was for just three minutes, against Tennessee-Martin on Dec. 22.

The Canada native gradually began to incorporate more time for the Tigers and is now averaging 13 minutes per game.

Although she has had some setbacks this season, Hudyn has still managed to attain milestones.

On Feb. 2, when the Missouri fell to Louisiana State in Baton Rouge, Hudyn reached a career-high 10 points.

The following game on Feb. 5, a loss against Texas A&M, the starting lineup included Hudyn for the first time in her three years as a Tiger.

“I think she just keeps getting better and better,” Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said. “She’s had a rough go this year, but sitting out for as many weeks as she did, she’s just trying to get back into the mix and is feeling comfortable on the court again. Certainly, the last couple of games, she’s really done some good things for us.”

The Tigers seem to be on the up and up, as they beat Auburn to get two victories out of their last four games for three Southeastern Conference wins.

Although she only contributed two points in her 17 minutes on the court in Mizzou’s most recent win, Hudyn, like her team, seems to be improving day by day.

“She’s got such a high basketball IQ, she’s fundamentally sound, she’s got a nice touch, she can knock down shots for us,” Pingeton said. “But I think the biggest thing is to get more minutes under her belt, and help her feel more and more comfortable.”

With a team that has suffered a total of five players’ injuries at one point or another this season, having Hudyn back has been crucial to the team’s depth.

More importantly, Mizzou lost two bigs to season-ending injuries in 6-foot-3-inch freshman Bri Porter and 6-foot-2-inch sophomore Kayla McDowell.

Although the Tigers have the fresh addition of 6-foot-3-inch sophomore Davionna Holmes to the bench after tending to personal matters, Pingeton said it’s hard to adjust to the team’s game plan so late in the season, and it doesn’t seem that she’ll will have a big role on the team for now.

With these three in mind and with the post position so limited, Hudyn remains the tallest player on the roster who has the potential to make an impact.

“(Hudyn) definitely adds depth,” captain and senior guard Morgan Eye said. “The more numbers we have, the better, and she’s been playing some great minutes. She has a great work ethic and brings a great attitude every day to practice. She’s always ready to make that extra pass, set good screens and she’s always ready to learn and get better.”

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