A little more than a year after tearing her ACL, Ali Patberg was back on the basketball court for a meaningful game Friday.
Although she didn’t take a shot in Notre Dame’s 107-47 season-opening rout of Central Michigan, the former Columbus North star made her presence felt in collecting three rebounds and three assists in 14 minutes off the bench.
“I think I’m doing well, considering,” Patberg said. “I’m not where I want to be. In games, I’m going to have limited minutes because they want me to ease into things. It’s a process, but I’m going to help the team in any way I can, and it’s great to be back out there.”
The 2015 Indiana Miss Basketball and a McDonald’s All-American, Patberg missed all of last season at Notre Dame after she was injured in a November 2015 practice.
Patberg returned for the start of practice in October. The redshirt-freshman had four rebounds, six assists and led the Irish with a pair of blocked shots in 17 minutes in a 129-50 exhibition win against Roberts Wesleyan on Nov. 3.
“When I first started playing again, I felt a step slow,” Patberg said. “I think I’m moving better on defense. Offensively, I’m not as aggressive. (Coach Muffet McGraw) told me to be patient because I’m kind of hard on myself.”
Patberg realizes her role as point guard on the top-ranked team in the country is to be more of a facilitator than the prolific scorer she was in high school.
“My role on this team is to be a leader and to distribute the ball,” Patberg said. “I think I’m doing those parts well.”