LeeAnn Stephenson transferred to Indiana from Lincoln Trail CC not knowing a whole lot about the women's basketball program, but felt that this was the place she was destined to go to school and play basketball.
"I really didn't know a lot about the women's program, but Coach Betthauser and Coach Bennett were recruiting me," Stephenson said. "I came on a visit here, and it just seemed like the place to be, and a good place for me both academically and basketball."
Stephenson came in last season ready to make an impact for the Hoosiers. Unfortunately for Stephenson and the Hoosiers, she tore her ACL during preseason practice. Stephenson was forced to prolong her Indiana debut and take a redshirt year. As difficult as it was for Stephenson to watch last season from the bench, she was able to get to know the team and the system of basketball.
"Last year was really difficult, and something I really didn't expect," Stephenson said. "When I transferred, it felt like I was ready to come in and play and make an impact, and then, I had to sit out the entire season with the exception of one exhibition game. It was difficult, but it allowed me to learn the system, my teammates and the coaching staff and get used to the program."
After an off-season of recovery, Stephenson finally felt it was time for her to step up for the Hoosiers as the 2003-04 season began. Fate had something different planned as again she suffered a setback. During preseason practice she suffered yet another injury, this time a MCL tear.
"This year was a little different in that it was a MCL tear instead of an ACL," Stephenson said. "It was a much better recovery. The pain was minimal, nothing like an ACL. I hated that I had to have surgery again, but after coming out of surgery and being able to walk without any pain and just getting back in two and a half weeks. It's a lot easier."
Stephenson has recovered from her MCL tear and even got onto the court make her debut in the Hoosiers' game at NC State. She has reacquainted herself to the game after being sidelined for over a year, and starting to get her timing back.
"I'm just trying to get my timing back and try to help the team in any way possible," Stephenson said. "I'm not trying to come out and do too much, just trying to relax and play my role, hopefully do some good things."
As ready as Stephenson is to make her Big Ten home debut, she feels she has learned a lot about the game having to sit and observe from the bench.
"It's always difficult having to sit out, but you learn from seeing from the other side of the floor," Stephenson said. "A lot of times when you are on the floor you don't see what's happening wrong. Seeing it from off the court you can instruct the players and tell them what's happening and you can learn from that so when you get back in the game you can make sure you can correct those things."
Stephenson has one goal for herself, and she is anxious to accomplish that goal.
"I'm ready to get back in and start playing without pain," Stephenson said.