Healthy Singer Excited to Be Back
Colorado center Maura Singer has journeyed a long way to get on the court at the CU Events Center. The sophomore now in her third season with JR Payne and the Buffaloes is a familiar face to those around the program, but 2021-22 marks the first season she's suiting up for the Buffs.
The Columbine High School graduate and Littleton, Colo., native, committed to Colorado in 2018 as part of a class that included Jaylyn Sherrod and Charlotte Whittaker. Both Sherrod and Whittaker have been able to contribute for the Buffs since they arrived on campus, while Singer has had to sit and watch.
Singer has battled through multiple knee injuries and corresponding surgeries since before she even arrived at CU. The 6-4 center was sidelined her senior season at Columbine and hadn't played meaningful basketball since her junior year in 2018.
That changed with CU's exhibition game earlier against Colorado Mines and then the Buffs' opener at Oklahoma State. Singer got in the game against the Cowgirls and recorded her first real minutes, picking up a block in the Buffs 55-45 opening-day win.
"It takes a lot of courage," Payne said after the Mine's exhibition. "What Maura has been through, multiple major surgeries, and has never backed down or shied away from kicking butt in the training room. She's worked unbelievably hard for these opportunities and her teammates, coaches and family are proud of her."
All of Singer's work to get back on the court has been behind the scenes. While the team would go through daily practices, Singer would be in the weight room working with Adam Ringler, the Buffs' Assistant Director of Strength & Conditioning.
"I probably spent more time with Maura, developmentally than I have with any other student-athlete leading up to their first game," Ringler noted. "While the team went and practiced, she was in that mid-to-late stage return to play for her first ACL. I got to really take her under our wings and develop her, not from just a strength and power standpoint but a rehab standpoint. We spent nearly every practice day, an hour and a half, just training and focusing on areas of her development of her health and performance. She's worked her tail off and I'm just excited to see her [play] and I'm really looking forward to seeing where her game goes."
Chris Miller, the team's trainer, also got to spend quite a bit of time with Siner during her rehab.
"She's one of the hardest-working student-athletes I've ever dealt with," Miller added. "To see all her time spent in the training room and her dedication to getting back on the court paying off is fantastic. Her excitement after playing against Oklahoma State was worth it all."
Singer, after three years of waiting, finally got the call off the bench in the Buffs' exhibition and then got her first real minutes on the road at Oklahoma State.
"I've been playing basketball [in practice], just not like this type of basketball," Singer said after the Mines game. "It was kind of easy to get back into it, but I was nervous. But it was a good nervous."
Singer's work hasn't gone unnoticed by her teammates either. Sherrod, who went through her own surgery and rehab last season, vocalized her admiration for her teammate.
"She's probably one of the toughest people I know," Sherrod exclaimed. "She comes in every day, even during her recovery. She would come in and be vocal in practice. She would be in the moment working on her recovery, but she just always stayed in the moment. You appreciate when people are going through their own stuff but can still find a way to put the team first. That's what Maura has done these past two years. We came in together and for her to finally be able to play, it's a good moment for all of us."
Singer and the Buffs are set to open a six-game homestand on Friday, starting with Marquette (7 p.m. MT). Friday will be the start of a busy week and a half for Colorado, which is slated to play five games in 10 days.
Marquette (3-0) is third in the NCAA with 73 assists this early this season and has outscored opponents by a combined 251-133.
Mark Johnson will have the call on the Colorado Radio Network. Pregame starts at 6:30 p.m. MT.