Monday, January 14, 2013
Ashley Fields has reached a High Point in her basketball career.
The Goose Creek standout signed with the college by the same name last week, agreeing to play for the Big South Conference school after graduation. She also held offers from East Carolina and Winthrop.
“I feel very blessed just to have the opportunity to play college basketball with everything I’ve been through,” Fields said.
She’s referring to a left knee injury that was more of a problem than most people knew.
Fields landed on a rock while running down the bleachers in preseason workouts before last season and her kneecap popped out of place, leading to months of problems with the knee. She played through the pain all season and Lady Gators coach Tim Baldwin said the kneecap often slipped out of place.
Fields’ battle with swelling and fluid on the knee was a daily grind.
“It was during every game and every practice,” Fields said.
The pain made it tough to play but she competed through it.
“It was unreal,” she said. “I really can’t describe it. I’ve definitely never felt pain like that before. I did it for my team, the seniors.”
She went on to average 10.3 points, 5.3 boards and 3.2 steals last year but wasn’t close to 100 percent.
Fields had surgery to stabilize the knee after last season, when the Lady Gators played for the Lower State championship.
She’s averaging team highs with 12.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 6.2 steals this winter and has the Lady Gators off to a perfect start.
Fields said it speaks volumes about High Point’s coaching staff for sticking with her through her knee injury.
“It shows they were loyal to me and saw the potential I had,” Fields said. “I’m very thankful for that.”
“I love the campus and the coaching staff. It feels like a home environment. Everybody is like family there.”
High Point is located near the center of North Carolina, less than an hour from Greensboro and Winston Salem. The school is noted for its scenery and recently had a half billion dollars worth of renovations.
The school is liberal arts college associated with the United Methodist Church.
“This is something that’s not only going to allow her the opportunity to better herself in basketball, it’s giving her an education for free,” Baldwin said.