Anne Pederson took a circuitous route to LSU, a path that began in her native Copenhagen, Denmark, and included a one-year stop at The Rock School in Gainesville, Fla.
Then came an unforeseen detour.
After practicing with the Lady Tigers for a couple of weeks last season, Pederson, a 6-foot-1 guard, began having trouble with the torn meniscus she had suffered the previous winter.
“My knee was so swollen, I couldn’t really move it anymore,” Pederson said.
Instead of testing her smooth jump stroke and International-style cuts to the basket against Southeastern Conference foes, Pederson underwent surgery to repair her injured knee and spent her first year on campus watching games from the bench in a sweatsuit.
Now she’s finally in uniform and ready to show what she can do.
“Seeing everything from the sideline makes you appreciate basketball a lot more,” Pederson said. “I don’t complain as much about being on the court. I’m just happy to be out there. I would rather run up and down the court every day than sit on the bench.”
The good news for Pederson is that she received a medical redshirt and enters coach Nikki Caldwell’s second season with four years of eligibility remaining.
More good news is that the price she paid last year — while working with LSU trainer Micki Collins to rehab her knee — has left Pederson in what she said is the best shape of her life.
“She has been one of our top guards as far as conditioning,” Caldwell said. “We literally have to gauge her. She will push beyond the threshold.”
Recruited to LSU as a wing, Caldwell said Pederson is versatile enough to play four different positions.
Her prowess from 3-point range is Pederson’s signature attribute. But she has also impressed teammates with her ability to drive the lane and create opportunities on the fly.
“Anne has a very graceful European style,” LSU forward Theresa Plaisance said. “Everything’s really smooth in her game.”
Former LSU assistant Travis Mays was one of the first to notice when he dropped by a practice at The Rock School before Pederson began her only season there. Pederson had moved from Denmark, where she starred for her home country’s national teams for four years, in hopes of being noticed by college coaches and earning a Division I scholarship offer.
“Not a lot of coaches go to Denmark and watch players play,” she said.
Pederson suffered the knee injury two months after signing with LSU and was sidelined for the second half of her senior season. She figured to be back at full strength when she joined the Lady Tigers, but the early detour prolonged her college debut.
Half a world from where her journey began, she finally has a chance to show how far she’s come.
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