PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Portland native and St. Mary’s Academy alumni, Arizona Wildcats junior guard Bendu Yeaney has experienced her fair share of adversity through basketball, but she has always found a way to overcome it.
A big obstacle she had to overcome was a ruptured Achilles tendon that she suffered in March 2019. Yeaney was then forced to be sidelined, which she told KOIN 6 News challenged her emotionally as she fought back from the brutal injury.
“After that I kind of lost my love for basketball because I was like I have to battle back from this and even when I was battling back it was hard,” she said.
At the time of injury, Yeaney played for the University of Indiana, but she decided the rehab and training would be easier for her if she moved back to the West Coast. From there she was recruited by Arizona head coach Adia Branes.
“Me and her have this joke that she says I broke up with her the first time because I went to Indiana,” Yeaney said. “Then I came back to my senses and the second time I came back to her.”
Yeaney continued by saying, “It was just easier for me to be on the West Coast and I think that brought my love of the game back.”
As time went on, Yeaney found her love and passion for the game came back. It came back so much that Barnes started calling Yeaney the “spark plug.”
“I’m a ball of energy, everybody from even in high school you hear Bendu, you can hear her like you can hear her from a mile away because I’m just a ball of energy, I just like to go out there and have fun.”
The passion and love for the game showed up every night as Yeaney helped push the Wildcats deep into the NCAA Tournament and eventually make it to the National Championship game against Stanford. For Yeaney though, she witnessed life come around in full circle.
“We had to beat my old team to go to the Final Four, which was crazy and then we had to play one of my best friends Evina in UConn the next game and then we had to play Cameron Brink the next game it was just like, my whole life went in a whole circle.”