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Arizona State guard Jamie Loera continues to push through adversity

Battling both an injury and an illness, Jamie Loera continues to push through adversity and is determined to return this season. (Photo courtesy Sun Devil Athletics)

TEMPE – Jamie Loera has shown potential, but her time on the court has been limited.

As a sophomore guard from Moses Lake, Washington, Loera hasn’t played at all this season for the ASU women’s basketball team, and she only saw action in 11 games as a freshman last season.

Loera missed the first game last season against Incarnate Word with an illness, then she had hamstring issues that caused her to be sidelined.

ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne said Loera played well at the USA Basketball Women’s 3×3 National Championships this past summer, but when Loera returned home, she started to have shin pain and continued to have various stress reactions.

Before this season, Loera was diagnosed with compartment syndrome because she wasn’t getting healthy enough to be back on the court. She had surgery on Oct. 31.

“When we figured this out, it was really good clarity for me,” Loera said. “Surgery isn’t the most ideal thing, but I think it is really going to help.”

This surgery shouldn’t sideline Loera for the entire season, and Turner Thorne said that she hopes to have Loera back for Pac-12 play. ASU begins its Pac-12 season against Arizona on Dec. 29 at Desert Financial Arena.

“It is mostly just how my body responds and how I feel,” Loera said. “I am just taking it day-by-day, so I don’t have to necessarily have a set day that I need to be back, which is putting so much pressure on myself. I will take it day-by-day and just let my body heal. But, yeah, we are aiming (to return) for the start of Pac-12 play.”

Although she didn’t play much last season, Loera showed flashes. She had excellent performances early last season, including against eventual national champion Baylor in Fort Defiance, Arizona, and at Arkansas, where she was effective from the 3-point line.

“She can shoot it, and she is a smart kid,” Turner Thorne said. “It will be nice once we get her back.”

Robbi Ryan, a senior guard, echoed Turner Thorne, saying that Loera will make an impact and provide a much-need boost when she returns.

“I definitely think she will bring us some energy and some intensity, and she is actually a great shooter,” Ryan said. “It will be good to get that kind of scoring back in, an extra body and just all the great intangible things that she also brings to our team.”

Loera expressed some disappointment that she won’t be able to play in the Florida Gulf Coast Showcase. Her older sister, Jessie, is a senior guard for Gonzaga, which is also in the tournament.

“It is definitely a bummer,” Loera said. “My parents are actually going to be at that tournament, too. We have been talking about it since we found out that she was in that tournament with us. It is going to be really amazing just to see her play again, though, because I haven’t seen her play since I have been here. I have the perspective that I get to see my sister and my parents, though, I do want to play against her before she graduates.

“Maybe we will see her in the NCAA Tournament.”

Although it has been a struggle to start her Sun Devil career, Loera said that the support system she has in Tempe makes everything a little less difficult.

Loera is certainly ready to be back.

“It has definitely been tough,” Loera said. “Working through adversity is always going to be hard, but especially when working through injury-type adversity is something I have never really done before. Especially this summer and preseason, it has been pretty hard, but everyone around here and all my teammates, they motivate me. That is my biggest motivation.

“That is why I am so determined to get back on the court. knowing that I get to play basketball with them again, and getting better, so I am rehabbing the best I can.”