BILLINGS — Taryn Shelley’s return to Montana State Billings was delayed significantly.
The super senior and reigning honorable mention All-American broke her foot and sprained her ankle in the team’s alumni game back on Oct. 22.
“I jumped up to try and tip a ball and I just landed on the outside of my foot," Shelley said. "I was sitting on the ground and I was not getting up I knew it was not OK."
“She's just getting a little better each week. As we get to February, I think she'll be very close to the (Shelley) that we all know," head coach Kevin Woodin said.
Shelley missed the first two months of the season, finally making her debut on Dec. 29. MSUB is 5-2 since Shelley’s return, including five straight wins. She had her best performance of the season last Thursday against Simon Fraser, recording an 18-point, 13-rebound double-double, the 28th of her career.
“It's just trusting her foot, especially on defense and rebounding. Offensively she knows the plays and where she's going to get the ball. It's defensively trusting your foot when you're guarding somebody and they dictate what's happening," Woodin said.
"Usually I feel like I take our preseason games as a little warmup, and now I'm ready for the GNAC," Shelley said. "I didn't have those games and I'm trying to do that in a short amount of time to get back to what I was."
With Shelley coming off the bench, the MSUB women have a massive spark they’d been missing earlier. Not only is the 6-foot-3 senior a stud on the low block, she’s got a shooting touch to stress opposing defenses.
“She's getting more confidence in her foot and I'm starting to see some things she can do," Woodin said. "She's more athletic than people think. She has an amazing shooting touch. She can score from anywhere — inside, mid-range, outside."
Shelley and the red-hot MSUB women (16-4, 7-2 GNAC) are fresh off a win over No. 6 Western Washington and head to Nampa, Idaho Thursday for a meeting with Northwest Nazarene.