A year after tearing her ACL and missing seven games, Lizzy Dimba is back in full form after months of rehab. In her final year, Dimba like the rest of her team is focused on a repeat as Southland Conference champs.
“Last year was really disappointing when I was hurt,” Dimba said. “But I’m thankful for the doctors that helped me. I do rehab every day now, sometimes I do rehab twice a day. That’s how I’m able to stay in the shape that I’m in.”
Dimba and the rest of the women’s basketball team had their first official practice on October 5, and she looked to the team to be her old self. Senior Alexis Mason and last year’s Southland Conference Player of the Year, says that Dimba coming back is going to be great, and that she was sad to see her go down last year.
“She is a great post player that works hard down in the paint,” Mason said. “It was sad not playing with her last year when she went through the ACL injury, but she was very positive about it which made it easier for the team to respond. We wanted her to be out there with us, but she did a great job switching roles and becoming a great encourager for the team.”
Mason also said that Dimba’s game is going to be a big part of the physical play that the wildcats have done for the past 3 years.
“She’s gonna be a big part of this team now that she’s come back,” Mason said. “I mean she obviously looks ready. She can drive, hit the three, and defend. She looks in great shape.”
Dimba says other than rehab, the encouragement of her teammates was crucial in her successful return as well.
“All of my teammates were there for me through it all,” Dimba said. “Especially my sister and Alexis and Sydney. We’ve been together for this being our fourth year and I can’t wait to bring home another championship with my family.”
Speaking of family, Dimba not only considers her team her family, but she has actual kin on the team in her identical twin sister, Suzzy Dimba. Suzzy Dimba says that she tore her ACL her sophomore year of high school, the same injury Lizzy Dimba went through last year. Suzzy Dimba said that her sister was there through her injury, and they she had to do the same for her sister.
“I hated that she wasn’t on the court with me,” Dimba said. “I tore my ACL my sophomore year in high school and she played through [the season], so I knew I had to do the same.”
Dimba also said that playing with her sister has been fun and she’ll always remember this season.
“It’s been great playing with her -it hasn’t been just 4 years, it has been my entire life,” Suzzy Dimba said. “We have been on the same team since we were 4 years old and it’s crazy to think this is the last year we will be teammates.”
Head coach Julie Goodenough says this class of seniors has been a top-3 team that she’s coached in her 20-plus year career, and Lizzy Dimba is an integral part of it.
“Lizzy and her sister Suzzy were both heavily recruited by ACU and other schools,” Goodenough said. “We wanted them both so we got them both, and I’m glad we did. When Lizzy and Suzzy are healthy, they’re both top-10 athletes in the conference.”
Lizzy Dimba said the idea of her playing without her sister didn’t cross her mind once.
“She’s my sister,” Dimba said. “we’ve been playing together basically our whole lives. We had colleges recruit me and not Suzzy, and colleges ask for Suzzy and not me. ACU wanted us both, and it seemed like a really good fit for us both academically, in athletics, and spiritually.”
Fellow senior Sydney Shelstead came in to ACU at the same time as the Dimba sisters. She said the injury hurt, but she’s glad that Dimba is back in action.
“I felt for Lizzy when she got hurt last year because she didn’t get to finish the season playing games with us, but I am so excited for her to be back on the court for our final season,” Shelstead said. “It’s going to be a great year for this team and I’m excited to see what everyone is going to be able to accomplish individually and as a team.”
Now Lizzy says there’s just one more thing to make her comeback story complete.
“We’re gonna win another championship, and I can’t wait to be on the court when it happens.”
The team opens its title defense with preseason play in the Women’s NIT against Missouri on Friday. The Wildcats will begin Southland play on New Year’s Eve against Southeastern Louisiana.