Meade’s making the most of it

Former Lady Hillman is sidelined, but not taking it sitting down
By: Ray Hacke Journal Sports Correspondent
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Madison Meade’s junior season at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville ended prematurely when a fractured hip sidelined her earlier this month. Even so, the Placer High graduate — ever one to look for a silver lining — seeks to use her time on the sideline to better herself as a basketball player, even though she can’t run, dribble or shoot. “There’s not much I can do about it,” said Meade, who is currently on crutches. “I just have to take the good from it, be positive and be there for my teammates. “(Being sidelined) has allowed me to show support and become a more vocal leader. I’m also seeing things that I didn’t see when I was out there on the court. Now that they’ve been brought to my attention, I hope to bring those things back with me on the court and be better from it.” Meade didn’t think much of it when she first started feeling pain in her upper thigh. “I thought I pulled my groin,” she said. “I kept saying it wasn’t that big a deal, but I kept getting treatment before practice. “The doctor said, “Let me take a look at it,’ and I underwent some X-rays and an MRI. He found out that my femur was swollen from the fracture.” A starter in 10 of 20 games for the Cougars prior to her injury, Meade had averaged just 3.2 points per game on 27.8 percent field goal shooting. However, SIUE coach Amanda Levens said the 5-foot-6 guard’s value to the team can’t be quantified statistically. “She’s just feisty,” Levens said. “She’s got a good basketball sense, and she understands what we want to do defensively. She’s small for her position, but she doesn’t back down from anybody – she goes out and competes on every possession. Plus, her and one other girl on our team are our most-tenured players, so for us to lose her really hurts us.” As dedicated to her game as she is, Meade took some time off from it last summer when she studied international marketing in Italy. She immersed herself in Italian culture, made friends from different parts of the world and visited such locales as Florence and the Amalfi Coast. “It was a remarkable experience for me,” she said. “I know it took away from my workouts and basketball, but it was really an eye-opening experience. I learned so much about myself and about the world.” A business major, Meade arrived at SIUE intending to become an interior designer. She’s currently interning with an interior design firm, but she’s considering pursuing a career in sports marketing instead. That decision is for another time, however. Meade still has a season of college basketball left, and Levens is looking forward to having her back. “She’ll be a better player next year,” the Cougars’ coach said. “I know it’s hard for her to see that because she wants to play right now and she’s extremely disappointed. “But she’s extremely reliable and consistent. I always knew when she went in that she could guard someone the way I told her to. To not have someone you can rely on to do that is tough.”