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Abbey Schmitt Returns to the Hardwood in a Big Way

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By Mark Washburn
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Basketball players like to be on the court and sophomore forward Abbey Schmitt (Winnetka, Ill.) is no different and finally after nearly two years away from the court she's made her return and is lifting the Dartmouth women's basketball team in a big way.

            Schmitt had an outstanding junior year at New Trier high school outside of suburban Chicago. The 6-0 forward averaged 17.0 points per game and 9.5 rebounds per game and led her team to a 28-4 record. She had numerous accolades to her name including IBCA Class 3A/4A second-team All-State and ESPN All-Area honors. That junior season would be the last time Schmitt saw the court until the spring after her freshman season at Dartmouth.

            Schmitt tore her ACL the summer before her senior season and has been working hard to get back to the court ever since. She made her debut in Dartmouth's season-opener at Bryant and posted a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds, becoming the first Big Green player to post a double-double in their collegiate debut since Elise Morrison in 2003-04. Her 14 rebounds were the most for a Dartmouth player since the 2010-11 season.

"That first game back against Bryant was awesome," said Schmitt . " Coming off of nearly two years of injury, I was a little nervous and a little rusty, but I have been working hard and trying to put all my effort into doing the best I can. The double-double was unexpected, but I've really taken a "leave it on the court" mentality because after being out for two years you just never know what's going to happen."

            The Bryant game was just a glimpse into Schmitt's potential. So far this season, Schmitt has been as consistent as they come, posting either double figure points or rebounds in each game. She's Dartmouth's second-leading scorer with 11.3 points per game and set a career-high with 18 points against Syracuse on Nov. 29.

            Despite a great start to her collegiate career, Schmitt definitely didn't enjoy sitting out her freshman season at Dartmouth.

            "Sitting out was hard. I tried to support my team in the best way that I could, but it was a challenge for me not being on the court. I really just wanted to be out on the court more than anything."

Schmitt did take the time away to learn as much of the offense as she could from watching and she was also able to work on basketball skills during that time.

            Finally back on the court and starting, Schmitt isn't taking anything for granted.

            "This is what I've been working for my whole life, I had to work even harder due to my injury and it's just really great to be back on the court again. I'm loving it."

            Dartmouth head coach Chris Wielgus is equally happy to see Schmitt back on the court.

            "Abbey has worked so hard to get back and after two years out, it's been great to watch her develop and grow. Her best basketball is ahead of her and we're certainly glad to have her back on the court."            

            Schmitt has always been a fan of basketball and she definitely got it honest. Her father, Roger, played basketball at Princeton from 1975-79 and started her at a young age with the sport.

"I'm not really sure why I love basketball. I love the feeling of running up and down the court, scoring points and grabbing rebounds. It's just great to be out there. My dad really loves it so he's kind of my inspiration and the reason that I love it too."

Not only does Schmitt love the basketball team, she also loves Dartmouth. Knowing that she wanted to play Ivy League basketball at a young age, Schmitt counts the "warm atmosphere" at Dartmouth as one of her top reasons for heading to Hanover.

" I love the atmosphere of the Dartmouth community. The people here are so friendly and although its an Ivy League school people don't take themselves too seriously and that makes it a great place to be."

            Finally off the bench and back on the hardwood Schmitt is enjoying basketball again and looks to lead the Big Green to its 18th Ivy League Championship.