Victrum is still hesitant to shoot in practice, but she’s back and ready to take the Herd to new heights.
Photo by: Scott Bolger
Norrisha Victrum is no longer thinking about upkeep on her knee, but a greater task at hand: winning a conference championship ring.
When the Marshall University women’s basketball team takes the floor this Friday against Moorehead State, they won’t be without their senior point guard like they were in the final six games of the season last year. The Herd looks forward to having her play a full season so they can put themselves in position to win the Conference USA.
“I’m very excited to come back,” Victrum said. “It’s what I’ve been working toward and now that I’m back, I can bring my energy, leadership and knowledge of Coach Daniels’ system.”
“She’s been a steady competitor for us,” head coach Matt Daniel said. “She’s been through all the wars with us, I’m comfortable with her on the floor and I’m certainly glad to have her back.”
“I think it’s awesome that she’s back,” redshirt senior Leah Scott said. “I’m very happy.”
Victrum tore her right right anterior cruciate ligament nine minutes into the first half in a win against Florida International University Feb. 26. The process to come back was vigorous, but Victrum never missed a day of rehab.
“I did a lot of stuff to make sure my hamstring was strong,” Victrum said. “I did a lot of squats and knee extensions. I worked on my quads a lot too, to get my leg muscles right. I did this so when I do come back, it won’t be easy to re-hurt my knee.”
“There were a lot of pool workouts too,” Victrum said. “I did a lot of running on the treadmill in the pool and on the track. When I was able to get back with my team, I just did extra leg stuff right after practices.”
With Victrum, the team was 16-10 and won very close games with ball control that capped the turnover total to 10 and under. After Victrum’s injury, the Herd went 1-5 and it was difficult to keep the turnovers under or close to 10.
“We missed her calmness when she got injured,” head coach Matt Daniel said. “She could weather a storm and losing her was devastating to say the least.”
“It was really hard,” Scott said. “The energy within the team was gone, the fast tempo was gone and it was also difficult to adjust without her because she was the facilitator on our team.”
Marshall finished last year with a 17-15 record and a postseason victory over North Kentucky University in the Women’s Basketball Invitational. However, a lack of reinforcement cut some season potential.
“It really hurt us with our depth,” head coach Matt Daniel said. “We had to move McKenzie Akers to that spot, but then she didn’t have a substitute so she had to play the 35-40 minutes Norrisha did.”
Victrum still brought her energy to the bench in the final six games and never stopped supporting her teammates. Still, it was tough not to think about moments during games where she could’ve influenced the result.
“As soon as I got hurt, I just thought about how I let my team down,” Victrum said. “Then, I had to think about how I needed to give my team something other than me on the court. I started encouraging them and helping them with anything like rebounding in practice.”
“There were moments where I thought that I could help my team win those close games when I was out because I put the other team in uncomfortable positions,” Victrum said. “I think it was hard for them to lose a teammate they’ve been playing with for a while, but they adjusted.”
In a new season where Marshall has a mix of veteran leadership and seven freshmen, Victrum looks to guide new players and win a conference title. Her goals are certainly not out of her reach now with her knee intact.
“With the young players, sometimes it’s better for them to hear from a teammate instead of a coach always getting on you,” Victrum said. “I can give them a different voice. “
“Our goals this year is to get a ring,” Victrum said. “We’re going to leave everything we have on the court and be successful this year.”