By ANDY WOLF
Lauren Ruth’s 2017 was unlike many collegiate athlete typically experience.
A torn ACL six games isn’t too far out of the ordinary.
But it was more the cherry on top of having to transfer from now-closed St. Joseph’s College (Indiana) just 10 months prior.
Ruth is now healthy and settled in as a senior in her second year on the University of Findlay women’s basketball team.
“It was a lot of adjusting, new things happening in that year,” Ruth said.
Ruth was a key contributor for St. Joseph’s College in her sophomore year (2016-17).
She saw 28.7 minutes per game and thrived as a shooter, making 68-3-pointers.
Ironically, Ruth started for the Pumas in a nonleague game against the Oilers on Dec. 30 2016. She scored eight points but Findlay prevailed 62-48.
Less than a month later, Ruth was among the many on campus learning of St. Joseph’s financial struggles.
The trustees voted in the next week to suspend operations.
The Pumas were hours away from suiting up for a road conference game upon hearing the news.
“That game we really kind of decided that there we were going to give it all we have and play all we could and try to win the game,” she said.
Ruth and her teammates had a season to finish before they could begin to look at other schools.
St. Joseph’s College secured a conference tournament berth late in the season but bowed out in the first round.
Ruth, a Columbus Bishop Ready grad, decided to take her talents to Findlay because of a closer proximity to her family in Grove City.
“I just remember when I came here with my parents, coach (Jim) Wiedie was so welcoming and straightforward with me that it just felt like the perfect fit,” she said.
Ruth said Wiedie expressed the need for someone to fill in as a shooter because of voids left by graduation.
She averaged 9.3 minutes off the bench in the six games and made 6 of 10 from 3-point range.
But by the first week of December, she was sidelined with the injury.
Ruth went through a nine-month recovery process and was able to start stationary shooting four months in.
“Looking back on it, I think I everything happens for a reason,” Ruth said. “It was a good thing for me because I was able to connect more with the team and be more of a cheerleader on the sideline.”
Ruth will be called upon for the same role this season.
Not cheerleading, but as a shooter.
There’s more of a need for outside shooting since Lynsey Englebrecht graduated after making a school-record 106 treys her senior year.
Wiedie noted the 5-foot-10 Ruth is a bit bigger in comparison than Englebrecht (5-10), bringing a bit more length on the perimeter.
“She can play the two-guard, the three-guard position,” Wiedie said. “She probably puts the ball on the floor a little bit better.”
Ruth is one of ten seniors on the team coming off an NCAA tournament berth.
The veteran nature of the Oilers presents another exciting feeling in preseason.
“Last year when we made it really far in the tournament, it kind of set the tone for what we expect to accomplish this year and even more,” Ruth said.