Columbia, SC (WLTX) --- Valerie Nainima wasn't about to let a little knee surgery stop her from getting on the court for her senior season.
Nainima, who suffered a torn ACL in a July pick-up game and underwent knee surgery in August, was not the same player who earned second-team All-SEC honors in her junior season. However, the determination shown by the native of Fiji personified the feistiness of Dawn Staley's third USC squad which overcame high-profile transfers and a dismissal of another player to make the post-season.
It was not unusual for Nainima to be in some discomfort either in practice or games. However, she said it was worth it to be able to play with her teammates and be a part of the first post-season squad since Dawn Staley took over the Gamecock program.
Following Sunday's loss to Charlotte in the WNIT second round, an emotional Nainima left the court waving to fans who watched her last game at Carolina. If that is indeed the last time Nainima leaves the court, she will do so knowing that the countless hours spent nursing that knee was something not lost on the Gamecock supporters.