Big 12 Campus Correspondent
In any competitive sport, the ever-present potential for injury is a factor that scares players, families, coaches and fan bases alike. For junior Texas A&M women's basketball player Tyra White, that factor became a reality on Nov. 9, 2007.
During the team's season opener of the season, the guard from Kansas City, Mo., tore the anterior crucial ligament in her right knee just four minutes into play. Many athletes do not return to play from an ACL injury.
"I was looking down on myself, asking 'Why me, why me?'" White said. "But after a while, I started to look at it as a blessing; an opportunity to learn the team and learn what kind of role I would take on the team."
Selected as the preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year, there were high expectations for her play, but White was forced to sit the bench and recover from her injury. Despite the setback, she stayed extremely active learning the team and even kept a weekly blog for the school's athletic website called "From The White Pages."
After receiving a medical redshirt for her first year at TAMU, Tyra began her redshirt freshman season as an Aggie without missing a step. Tagged as the Big 12 conference preseason Freshman of the Year for the second consecutive year, White averaged double figures in points in the first three Aggie games of the year.
From there, White has built steady progress as a player. In her sophomore season, she averaged 10.6 points, third best on the squad, and 4.1 rebounds per game to earn the team's Most Improved award from her peers and coaches.
White said she has tried to fit into whichever role is needed for her team on the court.
"I tried to fit in anywhere I need to be," White said. "If I needed to be a shooter, I would do that. If I needed to be a rebounder, I would do that. Getting involved with all the talented players we have is what I want to do."
One of those talented players on the Aggie roster is senior forward/center Danielle Adams, who has averaged 22.3 points per game in the 2010-2011 season, and who also hails from Kansas City.
White said that Adams and her knew each other while growing up and competing.
"We definitely knew each other growing up," White said. "I was glad to hear when we could bring her here because I knew how talented she was."
As the team begins conference play, what many consider the most important stretch of the regular season, White is second on the team in points, averaging 14.0 per game and is second on the team in steals with 24.
She said that there is always an expectation and possibility of winning at the highest level at Texas A&M, and this season is no different.
"Right now, we're working one game at a time," White said. "But we know that there's always the chance to win a national title here. We want it. We're working hard to get it."
But even if she does not get a national championship as an Aggie, White said she knows her tenure at TAMU will prepare her for man opportunities after her college basketball years are over.
"If I'm not blessed with the ability to go pro, I know that I'll still have options after my time here," White said. "With the Aggie Network and all that I've learned here, I'll have something open for me."