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'One of the worst injuries I could've gone through'; Borowicz makes big return after mass found on tibia

A year and a half ago, UND's Kacie Borowicz had an injury that set her back for the first time in her career. Now in her junior year, the Summit League Player of the Month is letting people know that her best is yet to come.

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GRAND FORKS– Even from the start, Kacie Borowicz dared to be different. Growing up in the hockey town of Roseau, Minnesota Kacie never laced up the skates, instead finding her calling on the court.

“I think I never got into it just because my parents were always bringing us to the gym. I loved basketball as soon as it was introduced to me, so I knew that was what I wanted to do. I never even really thought it (hockey) was even an option, not that I wanted to,” said Borowicz.

In high school, Kacie became the Ram’s all-time leading scorer, surpassing 3,300 points, while being the first Roseau player to earn Miss Basketball. Those accolades set the bar high for what she could do once attending the University of North Dakota.

“I think it was obvious how special Kacie was for a long time. You can see just watching her, whether it’s in practice, a game or whatever it is. She is a competitor like you hardly ever see. She is just a different kind of competitor and just hard nosed. You can just see how much she loves the game and how much she has poured into it,” said UND Head Coach Mallory Bernard.

Kacie didn’t skip a beat at the collegiate level either. She played in all 30 games her freshman season, while averaging more than seven points per game. Being a soaring sophomore was supposed to be the next step in Kacie’s career, until it wasn’t.

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“Probably one of the worst injuries I could have gone through,” said Borowicz.

What Kacie thought were shin splints turned into something much more.

“October of 2020, I started feeling a little pain in my shin area, and I have had shin splints before. So I thought that’s what it was for a little while. Then it would just continually get worse and from what I remembered feeling from when I had shin splints, it was just the same aggravating, annoying pain, but this would get progressively worse,” said Borowicz.

“I went to see a doctor. We did some ultrasounds looking for stress fractures, we did x-rays and didn’t see anything right away. Then eventually it kept getting worse and practicing was very difficult. I mean any pounding, like any running, jumping, just sent pain up my tibia. Then we did a bone scan and that just showed a huge mass,” she added.

Kacie suffered a stress fracture on her tibia, an injury with little remedy and even weaker pinpoint for a return to basketball.

“I walk, I feel normal, and I don’t feel physically impaired or anything, but then you’re just taken out of competition and you can’t do anything until you can’t feel any pain. So that was super hard on me. I just kept hearing the recovery process is different for everyone, it’s going to be different for you, we don’t know, we don’t know. So I never had a set timeline, so that was very difficult for me,” said Borowicz.

Kacie played in only nine games her sophomore year. A once rising star, all of a sudden felt grounded.

“I don’t even recall missing a game in high school. So those first couple games that I had to sit out, I was like ‘Okay, you can do a few games. You’ll be back Christmastime or whatever’. But then it kept getting pushed back and pushed back,” said Borowicz.

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“I think we wanted to have her on the court a lot more than we were able to for sure. But there's always like that ‘what’s the long term goal here’. Yes, I would like to have her 20 minutes today, instead of five, but I would rather have her for the season or the next year too,” said Bernhard.

Kacie returned in time to close out last season, but it still didn’t feel the same.

“I had maybe five games where I was limited to 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 5 minutes a couple of games. That was almost worse than not playing at all. I think all of that was just a lot in a short amount of time and then I could feel it coming back again. So then I don’t think that helped me at all, put me back until probably the end of the season,” said Borowicz.

After being away for nearly a year, that gave Kacie something to prove to herself.

“It sucks to be the underdog, but it’s always fun to be the underdog,” she said.

This season Kacie has already won Summit League Player of the week twice , she's ranked second nationally in free throw percentage, while being named the conference's player of the month in January.

Her path may be different, but Kacie is embracing the come back.

“This year has just been so fun for me and so exciting. It’s fun to prove people wrong and this season, like I said, it has just been so much fun,” said Borowicz.

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Kacie is second in the Summit League averaging more than 18-points per game. Even though it's her senior year next season, she's still deciding what her future may hold.

Related Topics: UND BASKETBALLROSEAU
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