Rebecca Kiss/Assistant Photography Editor

Almost every player in any sport can testify that injuries can be physically and mentally draining, and that the road to a full recovery can be extensive and plagued by setbacks. Such was the case of redshirt junior guard Jasmine Sina, whose big return last season from a torn ACL injury fell a bit flat. This season, Sina looks to fully return to form, having gained back much of her strength and confidence.

“Last year was definitely a little bit of a tough year, just getting back into playing,” the 5-foot-5-inch guard from Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey said. “Now I just feel so much more comfortable and confident.”

Sina did start in all 30 games last season for the Bearcats, but averaged only 32.7 minutes per game, down from 39.1 in her freshman season. She averaged 9.5 points per game, dished out 89 assists and shot .345 from beyond the arc, all down from the 2014-15 season. With the help of her teammates, Sina believes that she can get those numbers back up to where they used to be.

“My teammates have done a great job in picking me up,” Sina said. “I feel a lot stronger, both mentally and physically.”

Still, Sina acknowledges that there remains work to be done. Regarding her own gameplay, Sina cites the need to continue to perfect aspects of her game, including ball-handling, pull-up shots and 3-pointers.

With quick speed and deft passing, Sina excels at feeding the ball to her fellow teammates, such as senior forward Alyssa James, and has been at, or close, to the top of the team in terms of assists. More significantly, Sina has proven to be a major threat from behind the 3-point line, a facet of the game that’s only grown in importance over the years at collegiate and professional levels.

Last season was generally lackluster for the Bearcats, posting an even 8-8 in conference play and 13-17 record overall. Entering the America East (AE) Tournament last March as the fifth seed, they bowed out in the first round following a 17-point loss to Maine.

But the Bearcats have a new look this year, and feel as though they are a different team. Sina recognizes experience as a key factor. The previous season’s freshmen now have a year of hands-on experience, she noted, and the addition of transfers sophomore forward Olivia Ramil and junior center Jodi-Marie Ramil helps as well, although they’ll have to sit the season out. The team appears to be gelling well at practice, which Sina believes will lead directly to its success.

“We’re really coming together as a team, both on and off the court,” Sina said. “We’re really working together to become a championship team. We rely on each other a lot, and I think that it’s showing on the court.”

The expectations certainly are lofty, and the pressure is quite high, with Binghamton ranked third in the AE Preseason Coaches’ Poll. This is nothing new for the Bearcats though, as they have had AE Championship expectations for quite some time. Sina believes that this year is finally the year.

“We’re very excited,” Sina said. “We’ve been working very hard every single day, and if we play like how we’re practicing right now, it’s going to be a great season and we’re going to be a championship team.”

The Bearcats’ long road toward a potential championship begins soon, and Sina looks forward to playing at her full potential and fueling the team’s effort. As she can attest, injuries pose significant obstacles that can make the road to full recovery full of setbacks, but it certainly is traversable.