By creator to sandhillsexpress.com
The middle of the Nebraska girls’s basketball protection the previous three seasons, Kate Cain discovered herself on the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak at her household’s house in New York in early April.
The 6-5 middle from Middletown, New York, returned to her household house as quickly as the faculty basketball season and on-campus lessons on the College of Nebraska in Lincoln formally resulted in mid-March.
Whereas house is normally a sanctuary and stress-free atmosphere for school college students to reconnect with household, and recharge their minds and our bodies throughout breaks from faculty, Cain knew this journey house could be a bit extra dangerous due to the virus.
“It was positively bizarre for the season to finish the best way it did, particularly since we had been nonetheless working towards in hopes of creating a run within the WNIT,” Cain mentioned. “As soon as we discovered that the match was canceled and faculty was logging on, I did my greatest to get house rapidly. I didn’t know what can be closing and if flights would get canceled, so I attempted to get again rapidly. Going house, I knew I used to be strolling into a large number with the coronavirus being so outstanding. It was sort of unnerving simply because every part was so out of whack, however I attempted to remain optimistic.”
Whereas Cain, who was a CoSIDA Educational All-America nominee as a junior after incomes Educational All-Massive Ten honors for the second time in 2020, tried to make sense out of the sudden change on the earth, the virus quickly hit her household immediately.
“A couple of weeks after I bought house, we discovered that one in every of my dad’s co-workers had examined optimistic with minor signs,” Cain mentioned. “Whereas everybody in New York was quarantined, my father was deemed important, since he works at West Level for the Military Corps of Engineers. Quickly after his co-worker examined optimistic, my father started to really feel sick, adopted by my mother and older brother. In the long run, my whole quick household had been uncovered to and examined optimistic for the virus.”
Cain, who’s the main shot-blocker in Nebraska historical past and one of many top-10 shot-blockers within the historical past of Massive Ten girls’s basketball as she enters her senior season, was grateful that her personal immune system recorded an enormous block to cease the virus, however not everybody in her household was so fortunate.
“My father (Tim) and older brother (John) had minor signs, and my little brother (Chris) and I had been asymptomatic,” Cain mentioned. “Sadly my mom (Alison) was hit extraordinarily onerous by the virus as a result of she has a compromised immune system.”
Cain’s mom, Alison, who was a 1,000-point scorer and one of many main shot-blockers in Fairfield girls’s basketball historical past, has a genetic kidney dysfunction and was the recipient of a kidney transplant throughout Kate’s freshman season at Nebraska. Remedy related to Alison’s situation truly weakens her immune system, making her extra susceptible to the coronavirus. A nurse herself at an elementary faculty, Alison was hospitalized for a day as a result of she developed coronavirus-induced pneumonia. Alison was in a position to struggle by way of the sickness, though everybody within the Cain household knew they had been in a severe state of affairs.
“Whereas my household was sick, it was very scary and our every day actions had been very unpredictable, particularly since my mom was struggling a lot,” Cain mentioned. “However after a number of weeks of remaining quarantined in the home, my whole household was cleared of the virus.”
As quickly as they discovered the information from Cain, Nebraska Coach Amy Williams and the Huskers had been extraordinarily frightened for the complete household.
“We had been clearly very involved after we heard that Kate and her household had been impacted by the virus, particularly after we discovered how severely it was affecting Alison,” Williams mentioned. “We instantly wrapped Kate and her whole household in our ideas and prayers. We felt such a robust sense of reduction for the Cain household, as their signs started to subside and their well being returned to regular.”
With the direct results of the virus behind them, life has returned to a brand new model of regular for the Cain household, and Kate is finishing remaining tasks and exams earlier than specializing in the summer time.
“Now that everybody is best and steady at house, it has been fairly boring,” Cain mentioned. “Though I take pleasure in attending to see my household at house, since we don’t get these alternatives usually, we’re all getting actually stir loopy.”
The Cain household is athletic, aggressive and onerous working. They aren’t in any respect accustomed to sitting round the home. Kate’s father, Tim, was an All-American basketball participant at Manhattan, whereas Alison starred for the Fairfield girls’s basketball crew in faculty. Kate’s older brother, John, is a 6-10 left-handed pitcher within the Los Angeles Angels group, whereas her youthful brother, Chris, a highschool basketball participant, plans to compete at Cushing Academy this season.
“It’s been irritating attempting to work out. I can’t see pals, and even the trouble of going to the shop, however I perceive the precautions wanted to stop individuals from changing into ailing,” Cain mentioned. “I really feel very lucky that my household bought by way of the illness.”
Whereas she hasn’t been in a position to go to a fitness center, Cain has benefited from the household hoop at house, and she or he has labored to remain on job with particular person exercises offered by Nebraska Girls’s Basketball Power Coach Stuart Hart.
“Since all of the gyms are closed I’m actually lucky to have a hoop in my driveway,” Cain mentioned. “Apart from taking pictures when it’s good exterior, I’ve been doing the house exercises that Stuart despatched the crew. I’ve been doing nearly any athletic exercise I can do exactly to maintain transferring. It’s been sort of troublesome to create essentially the most regular and structured exercises proper now, however I’ve been working with what I’ve.”
Now that Cain and her household have moved previous their very own bouts with the coronavirus, she is able to concentrate on being a pacesetter for Nebraska on the courtroom as a senior in 2020-21.
A two-time Massive Ten All-Defensive choice, Cain needs to work to get her recreation to an All-Massive Ten stage total. Extra importantly, she needs to assist carry Nebraska again to the NCAA Event – a feat she helped the Huskers accomplish as a real freshman in 2017-18.
“Plain and easy, I need to play within the NCAA Event once more. I’m going to should be a pacesetter and carry out constantly on each ends of the ground with the intention to try this,” Cain mentioned. “Regardless of the adversity that will come our means, I want to stay mentally powerful and push our crew to beat the obstacles we could face. I’m keen to do no matter it takes to get us again to the match, and I’m able to push myself to be the perfect participant and greatest teammate I might be.”
Cain is not any stranger to going through challenges on the courtroom. Initially signed to play at Delaware after being ranked as one of many top-100 gamers within the nation by ESPN out of highschool, a training change for the Blue Hens despatched her seeking a brand new place to play even earlier than she ever arrived on campus at Delaware.
“My faculty expertise has positively had its share of adversity. Even from the start, committing to Nebraska after a fast recruiting course of after de-committing from Delaware was very worrying, and the adjustment was not simple,” Cain mentioned. “I handled numerous homesickness, particularly my first two seasons, however I’ve grown up so much being removed from house.”
She made her determination to affix the Huskers in June of 2017, just some months after Nebraska accomplished its worst season in class historical past at 7-22. She made her collegiate debut with 18 factors, 9 rebounds and three blocks off the bench in a win over SIU-Edwardsville in Lincoln on Nov. 11, 2017. She began the subsequent 31 video games for the Huskers, serving to them produce the most important turnaround within the nation in 2017-18, posting a 14-game enchancment within the win column to complete 21-11 and advance to the primary spherical of the 2018 NCAA Event.
Cain earned a spot on the Massive Ten All-Defensive Workforce and the Massive Ten All-Freshman Workforce by averaging 9.9 factors and seven.zero rebounds whereas including a then-Nebraska school-record 100 blocked pictures. Alongside the best way, she created an unforgettable second in Husker historical past by recording the primary points-rebounds-blocks triple-double in class annals with a career-high 22 factors, 14 rebounds and a school-record 11 blocks in a win over Florida Atlantic at Pinnacle Bank Enviornment on Dec. 19, 2017.
“On the courtroom there have been so many nice moments and video games at Nebraska. From beating Duke in an in depth recreation this previous season to beating Iowa at Iowa my freshman 12 months, there have been so many video games the place our crew actually rallied collectively and performed for one another. I like these video games,” Cain mentioned. “Personally, I additionally actually loved getting the triple-double my freshman 12 months, too. It actually helped me understand that I’m able to taking part in an enormous function on this program and positively boosted my confidence as a freshman.”
As a sophomore, Cain’s manufacturing slipped barely to 7.5 factors, 5.9 rebounds and 79 blocks, and the Huskers misplaced extra video games (10) by two possessions or lower than any crew in class historical past.
The frustration of a mediocre sophomore season helped gasoline Cain throughout the summer time of 2019. She began her junior season stronger and faster than her first two faculty seasons. After she prolonged her streak of consecutive begins in a Nebraska uniform to 91 video games, Cain closed the 12 months averaging 9.three factors, a career-best 7.2 rebounds and a school-record 101 blocks. She claimed her second spot on the Massive Ten All-Defensive Workforce, and helped Nebraska to a three-game enchancment within the win column with a 17-13 total file.
Nonetheless, because the season got here to its sudden shut earlier than Nebraska may compete within the postseason, Cain was not glad with the best way the 12 months ended on the courtroom.
“I’ve at all times wished to be a terrific basketball participant, since I used to be little,” Cain mentioned. “Rising up in such an athletic and aggressive household, I’ve at all times been inspired to do my greatest and push myself to win and succeed. There’s a lot I can do to raise my recreation to an All-Massive Ten stage, and I’m going to work my hardest to succeed in that aim. I feel usually, I must be extra per my scoring. I’d have video games the place I’d be a scoring risk and others the place I wouldn’t rating in any respect, so I must work on my consistency. I want to ensure I’m staying within the weight room so I can get stronger down low. I additionally must develop extra put up strikes going towards the basket, so I can draw extra fouls and get nearer pictures. There are such a lot of issues I must work on, however I feel these are crucial.”
Cain has proven all through her profession that she isn’t afraid to work on weaknesses in her recreation. She has confirmed that with bodily and psychological focus she will be able to create optimistic outcomes. As a freshman, Cain hit simply 42.9 % (24-56) of her free throws. As a junior, Cain hit 68.three % (28-41) of her makes an attempt on the line and gained confidence all through the season, which helps to encourage her to assault the rim extra.
“Basketball-wise, I’ve actually struggled by way of intervals the place I lacked confidence and started to query my talents and my function on the crew,” Cain mentioned. “I’ve at all times been actually onerous on myself in numerous totally different areas out and in of basketball, however I’m extraordinarily lucky to have had the continual assist of my household, teammates, coaches and our crew’s sports activities psychologist to assist me by way of the highs and lows. The struggles have taught me so much about myself and what I can overcome. I’ll proceed to be taught from the obstacles I face.”
Cain is aware of that Nebraska’s success in 2020-21 would require extra than simply her personal elevated particular person manufacturing on the courtroom. The Huskers will lose senior leaders and four-year starters Hannah Whitish and Nicea Eliely to commencement, together with seniors Grace Mitchell and Kristian Hudson. Like tons of of colleges across the nation, the Huskers additionally misplaced a number of transfers. These departures have opened the door for a big group of first-year gamers who can be on the lookout for management in Lincoln this coming season.
Nebraska Coach Amy Williams mentioned Cain has the instruments to raise her play and turn into a stronger chief for the Huskers.
“I’m pleased with the expansion Kate has made in her first three seasons at Nebraska, and on the lookout for her to have a terrific senior season,” Williams mentioned. “Kate may be very motivated to make her senior 12 months her greatest. She has at all times had a really excessive basketball IQ and the power to select issues up rapidly, however she is beginning to actually perceive the significance of the opposite features of the psychological aspect of the sport. She is working onerous to do the issues that preserve her confidence excessive and permit her to remain targeted by way of challenges.”
Cain, who expects to earn her bachelor’s diploma as a administration main from Nebraska in August earlier than starting pursuit of her MBA, would be the solely returning senior on the Husker roster. She is aware of management and crew chemistry will play key roles in Nebraska’s success.
“I’m positively ready to take an even bigger management function this 12 months,” Cain mentioned. “Though I attempt to be useful off the courtroom and provides constant efforts to guide by instance in practices, I’ve by no means been essentially the most vocal chief. I’m going to should be extra snug expressing my opinions and pushing myself and my teammates to ensure we are able to accomplish our targets.”
Cain is aware of she received’t be alone in offering management. She is wanting ahead to the return of fellow fourth-year Husker Taylor Kissinger to the courtroom, after Kissinger redshirted in 2019-20 with a hip damage. Cain additionally is aware of she will be able to depend on the presence of junior-to-be Sam Haiby, who began all 30 video games for Nebraska at guard as a sophomore.
“I’m positively going to feed off of teammates like Taylor, who has been right here simply so long as me and brings a brand new perspective by taking part in a unique place and having a redshirt season,” Cain mentioned. “Nice groups have nice leaders, so I understand how necessary it’s to actually step up this 12 months.”
Cain can be anticipating to have assist inside with the return of sophomore-to-be Isabelle Bourne. The 6-2 ahead from Canberra, Australia, performed in all 30 video games for the Massive Purple final season and capped her freshman marketing campaign with a career-high 16 factors, six rebounds and a career-high 5 blocked pictures in opposition to Michigan within the Massive Ten Event.
“I used to be actually impressed with Issie’s play final 12 months. It was simple to see the uncooked expertise she had along with her strikes and the athleticism she delivered to the desk,” Cain mentioned. “With a 12 months of expertise taking part in within the Massive Ten, Issie goes to have the ability to convey a lot extra to the crew subsequent season, which is thrilling to consider.”
Cain can be excited in regards to the alternative to work with a big group of newcomers to the Nebraska program, who’re hopeful in regards to the possibilities of studying and rising collectively on and off the courtroom in 2020-21.
“Now we have numerous new faces coming on this 12 months, and I’m very excited to see how all of those items come collectively. Now we have numerous gamers who need to win and play collectively as a unit, and with so many weapons it’s thrilling to see what the long run will maintain. I’m actually excited to assist get our crew again to the NCAA Event, and I’m very optimistic when excited about the long run and the items being introduced in. I need to finish my profession at Nebraska in essentially the most optimistic means doable, and I need to put Nebraska on the trail to stay profitable after I depart.”
— to sandhillsexpress.com