Their high schools were separated by 2,000 miles, but both Kelsey Jacobs and Krystle Henderson could say they had the same experience their senior season before they headed to play basketball for Wichita State.
They each felt the heartache of having their final year of high school basketball cut short by the same injury — a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
When Jacobs and Henderson arrived on campus, they were still in the process of recovering. During the offseason, the two forged a unique bond.
"We were ACL buddies," Henderson said. "We did develop a relationship through that, though. We've had a similar experience, so we both understand what the other is going through."
Both will likely be counted upon in coach Jody Adams' rotation this season — the Shockers open the regular season tonight against Arizona at Koch Arena.
The recovery process from an ACL tear takes about six months, but restoring full mobility can take up to a year.
"It takes an aggressive and strong mindset," Jacobs said. "You have to get through the pain."
Both of them have fully recovered from their knee injuries, but Jacobs said overcoming the injury mentally is something she's still working on.
Henderson is also dealing with a foot injury, which will likely keep her out of tonight's game.
"The coaches can see I'm kind of timid when I'm getting a rebound and coming down," Jacobs said. "It will get there. It's just a process."
But the pains of going through the process have been made easier with another person on the team going through the same situation.
"We get that look," Henderson said, laughing. "When we're running, we get that look... its like, 'Your knee?' and she's like, 'yeah.' "
Both said they were relieved to find the WSU coaching staff working with them through the injury process. Jacobs said the staff remained behind her "120 percent" and both said it made the healing process better.
"They knew I was a hard worker and I'd be back," Henderson said, "probably 10 times better."