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Making her debut a year late

by Dean Bertoia November 21, 2017
Making her debut a year late

Ashley Moss was injured in her first game as a Stinger, but returned this season

Ashley Moss joined the Concordia Stingers women’s basketball team before the 2016-17 season with high expectations for herself and her team. As a transfer from the Holland Hurricanes of Charlottetown, P.E.I., she came to Concordia with one goal in mind—to help put a championship banner in the rafters of the Stingers’s home court.

Before she could help her team to the top, Moss had a hill of her own to climb. In her very first game with the Stingers in October 2016, Moss went down with what was later discovered to be a serious injury. Tests revealed she had torn her left Achilles tendon as well as her meniscus. These injuries kept her sidelined for the rest of her first season, and marked the beginning of a tedious, year-long rehabilitation process.

While this devastating injury presented Moss with a tough road to recovery, she is not a stranger to long and winding roads. Moss was born and raised in Nassau, Bahamas. When she was in 12th grade, her family moved to a different part of the city, which is where basketball first caught her eye. According to Moss, basketball started not so much as a passion, but as a necessity.

“There was a court on the side of my house. I was in a new neighbourhood, and the only thing to do was to go watch the boys play basketball,” she said. Eventually, Moss got tired of watching. She began participating in the street games and competing against full-grown men at the age of 18. From here, both her love and skill for the game developed.

Standing at 5-10, Moss is a lengthy, athletic forward. Her size gives her a particular type of defensive prowess which is cherished by coaches, and is what ended up earning her a spot on the Bahamas national women’s basketball team. She played on the national team for three years. In 2015, her last season with the team, she helped lead the Bahamas to a gold medal at the International Basketball Federation Caribbean Basketball Confederation (FIBA CBC) championship.

Ashley Moss

Moss injured her Achilles tendon in her first game last season, and missed the entire year. Photo by Kirubel Mehari.

She wanted to see how much further basketball could take her, and decided to leave the tropical heat of the Caribbean for the bitter cold of Canada to keep playing. Moss began her collegiate career at Holland College in 2013-14. In her three seasons at Holland College, she won back-to-back Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) championships in 2015 and 2016, and helped the team compete in their first two national championship tournaments.

From the Bahamas to P.E.I., Moss made a tough transition but maintained a winning pedigree. Moss said her move was tough because she had never been away from her family, nor had she seen the school. This is exactly what she was preparing to do again, when she moved from Charlottetown to Montreal, where she felt she had the best chance to keep winning. Moss said Stingers head coach Tenicha Gittens influenced her to make the switch to Concordia.

Gittens helped ease the transition for Moss by bringing in fellow Holland College recruits, Marvia Dean and Jazlin Barker, for the 2016-17 season.

“[Gittens] was on the same page as us,” Moss said. “She wanted to win a championship, and I feel like we can do it with her.”

Unfortunately for Moss, she was not able to join her former Hurricanes teammates on the court in her first season as a Stinger.

When asked to describe her journey back from last year’s season-ending injury, Moss did not lie about how hard it was. “My rehab was really rough, but what was even harder than the rehab was watching my teammates play,” she said. “The wins were good, but when they lost and struggled, I really felt the struggle.” According to Moss, she had to learn to walk again, and at times, was limited to shooting shots while sitting down in a chair with her leg up in a boot, as her teammates practiced.

As of today, Moss is healthy and off to a strong start this year. She won Most Valuable Player of the Concordia Classic Tournament in October, which her team won, and was named athlete of the week twice in the preseason. On Nov. 9, she played her first regular season game at home in front of a noisy crowd, which she had been itching to do.

“Do you know how long I’ve waited to play in this gym? I’ve been waiting forever to play in front of this crowd,” Moss said enthusiastically.

Her pent up energy was on full display in the home opener, where she had game-highs in both rebounds, with 12, and blocks, with five.

The word resilient describes Moss’s journey, her character and her style of play. She never lets a bad break, a tough challenge or a daunting task keep her down. She consistently bulldozes her way through the obstacles in front of her, and in doing so, wins, both in life and in basketball.

Main photo by Kirubel Mehari.

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