The 2012-13 season was supposed to be Bria Hartley's breakout campaign. Instead, an ankle injury suffered over the summer proved to be a lingering issue throughout the year and she the junior guard never really was herself.
“Sometimes, you are better off having a season-ending injury,” coach Geno Auriemma said, via the Hartford Courant. “Sometimes having an injury that never goes away is worse, although you hate to think in those terms. Injuries like the one Bria had last way too long and sometimes they get into your mind.”
It didn't help that Hartley kept quiet about the injury until it became unbearable. And by then, it was too late.
“Her ankle was bad,” Auriemma continued. “But what [the condition of] her ankle did to her mind was worse. But that’s a learning experience, too. It was a jolt to her after she had worked so hard in the offseason. It was a real letdown for her. She didn’t handle it well. And a lot of it was due to her frustration.”
Now a senior, Hartley's goals are simple: get healthy and help the Huskies remain the best program in the country.
“I would have loved to have [trained with the Olympic team over the summer], it would have been an exciting experience,” Hartley told the Courant. “But at the same time, I do want have a great senior season and I don’t want this injury to bother me again. It was better to rest it. There will be other opportunities for me. There was no need to rest it. …
“Honestly, [last season] was my best season in terms of learning and maturing. I’ve never had to face anything like that before; not playing and being so inconsistent when I did. It helped me grow as a person. But I will have a chip on my shoulder this season. I am a very competitive person. I am so excited. I was this to be an elite year.”