PEELER: Beal Brings Energy to Wolfpack Women.
BY TIM PEELER
RALEIGH, N.C. Sharnise Beal can’t really pinpoint when her shoulder was so badly damaged. It happened gradually through the course of last season.
All she knew was that team doctors suggested she have off-season surgery to repair the extensive injury: a torn labrum, a floating bone chip and an indented rotator cuff. It’s a procedure that normally needs eight to nine months for full recovery.
She spent the entire off-season completing an accelerated rehabilitation of the injured shoulder so she could return to action this season. The junior wing player from New Britain, Conn., established herself as a valuable member of the Wolfpack lineup last year, averaging 6.4 points and 2.8 rebounds as a part-time starter.
But she worked hard to return to action, in the hopes of becoming an even bigger contributor this season.
The comeback wasn’t easy, though. The fast-track rehab was painful.
“I felt sore constantly,” Beal said. “I felt like I was going through surgery all over again at some points. It is definitely coming along and it is showing in my game. I am shooting the ball a lot better.”
She missed all of summer conditioning, pre-season individual workouts, pre-season practice and the first seven games of the season. She finally returned in early December at Michigan, where she debuted with seven points in 22 minutes.
But heading into Sunday’s game at No. 2 North Carolina, Beal has become an invaluable part of the Wolfpack lineup over the last eight games. She moved into the starting lineup at Columbia, and made an immediate impact by scoring a career-high 26 points. She followed that up two games later with 23 points against Georgetown.
Over the last four games, Beal has averaged 18.3 points for the Wolfpack (8-7 overall), a team that has needed an emotional boost in the absence of legendary head coach Kay Yow, who is fighting cancer and will not return this season.
Beal credits her improved productivity to the difficult time she sat on the bench, unable to compete.
“I wanted to be a positive influence.”
In that way, Yow has been Beal’s primary inspiration to maintain a positive outlook throughout the painful rehab process.. The coach, who has missed the Wolfpack’s last four games, announced earlier this week that she will step down for the remainder of this season, turning the reins over to associate head coach Stephanie Glance.
“It’s been hard,” Beal said. “I know Coach Yow doesn’t want us feeling sorry for her, because she doesn’t feel sorry for herself. I feel it would be a slap in her face for us to get down on ourselves.
“That is not even an option right now. We have to use it as a motivation and push forward.”
You may contact Tim Peeler at email@example.com.