HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – Before they stepped back on the basketball court, both Ashley Saintigene and Lorelei Roper watched their teammates from the bench. Both suffered the same injury on different knees more than two years apart, and both admit recovery was a grueling process.

“I wouldn’t wish this on anybody. Going through this process was really tough mentally and physically. I had Brandi stretching me; it got to the point where I wanted to fight her at times but I knew that if I wanted to come back out here, I had to deal with it,” Saintigene said.

“I mean, I’m in the training room right after the surgery, two to three hours a day, It was hard, it tested everything in me, you had to teach yourself how to walk again you can’t even bend your knee, you can’t even lift your leg by yourself. Everything is learning like how to redo everything over again, it was one of the hardest things I ever had to do and I am glad it’s over,” Roper said.

And once it was over, Roper says she’ll never forget the moment Head Coach Tony Kemper put her back in the lineup.

“It was excitement, it was nervous, he finally looked at me and said ‘Lo go.’ I was like oh my goodness, it’s here and especially hearing everyone cheering when I finally got to go in. I mean, it was awesome; it was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had and especially scoring and hearing all my teammates cheering and everything like that, I mean it was awesome.”

Kemper says having both Saintigene and Roper playing again is great, but their efforts to get back on court prove just how tough they really are.

“Both of those two are very resilient you see that in the process through the injury and I also know that through coaching them,” said Kemper.

The moment they went down to the moment they returned, by their side every step of the way was athletic trainer Brandi Anders.

“It is the most fulfilling feeling you can get at that point and stuff. I like to call it my proud mom moment as well because we have spent countless hours in the training room doing rehab with them 24/7, so it is very fulfilling to have those moments with them when they come back. This process is really about them and they put in all the hard work,” Anders said.

The Herd have six regular-season games before the start of the Conference USA tournament in Texas. Four of those six games are at home. Marshall hosts USTA n Thursday night, and we’ll have those highlights right here on the 13 Sports Zone.