Senior guard Brady Sanders watches her teammates from the bench for most of every game. She won’t be the first one to substitute in, but she’s not worried about it.
“For me, it’s not hard whether I play one minute, thirty seconds or twenty minutes,” Sanders said. “It’s all the same to me. I just want to help the team.”
That’s humble talk from a player who saw her minutes increase every year from her freshman to junior season. Subsequently, so did her scoring – from 4.4 points per game to 7.9.
Sanders averaged 29.9 minutes and 3.2 assists per game last season — both of which were team-highs. Then the offseason came, and surgery on her right foot.
Coming back from the procedure has taken adjustments, but Sanders credits her teammates for helping with the recovery process.
“It’s hard coming back off an injury, but I’m surrounded by great teammates and they really push me,” Sanders said. “They really give me the confidence in the game to just play hard and do what I’m supposed to do.”
Sanders is averaging 10.2 minutes per game this season. Her scoring average has dipped to 2.3 points per game.
It’s not often in a game that Texas (23-2, 12-2 Big 12) demands Sanders to show flashes of the player she used to be. But such a situation arose Wednesday against Kansas State.
The Longhorns were coming off a lopsided loss to Oklahoma, and with a nine point deficit to the Wildcats at halftime, they were in danger of losing two in a row for the first time this season.
Head coach Karen Aston called Sanders’ number early in the matchup, and the senior responded with a team-high 12 points in 25 minutes off the bench as Texas came back to win.
After the Oklahoma loss, Aston said that she felt it was time to reward players that work hard in practice with more playing time.
“Brady has been one of those,” Aston said. “She has prepared everyday like she was going to play regardless if she was going to or not, and therefore when she gets in the game she knows what to do.”
Sanders said it’s not hard for her to stay motivated despite the drop off in playing time this season. She’s a senior, and she knows that her basketball career is quickly coming to a close.
Sunday’s game against West Virginia (20-7, 9-5 Big 12) will be her second to last regular season home game.
“It’s really not hard to stay motivated when I know how special this team is,” Sanders said. “This is the last chance that we have, as a whole, to go far. I just want to help contribute to that.”