The prolonged offseason has been unkind to Amy Williams and her program. The latest hit came Tuesday when wing Taylor Kissinger announced her playing career was over.
“I love basketball and I love Nebraska,” she said in a release. “It was always a dream of mine to play for the Huskers, and I want to thank Coach Williams for giving me a chance to make my dreams come true. Injuries are forcing me to move to the next part of my life in basketball, which hopefully leads to a career helping other players achieve their dreams.”
Kissinger is medically retiring from basketball. She will remain with the team in a different capacity.
The 6-foot-1 guard/forward from Minden, Nebraska, was preparing for her fourth season with the Husker women’s basketball team. She redshirted because of a hip injury as a junior in 2019-20, an injury that required season-ending surgery on Jan. 3. Kissinger played in just five games with the Big Red during the fall of 2019.
Kissinger faced setbacks during her rehabilitation following surgery, and her participation was limited throughout the summer.
“We are obviously disappointed to see Taylor’s playing career cut short by recurring injuries, but we are excited she will remain with us in a different capacity,” Williams said. “No one is more passionate about being a Husker, and she still has so much to offer this program.”
Kissinger appeared in 60 games with 31 starts over two-plus seasons in Lincoln. She averaged 10.0 points and 4.1 boards as a true freshman when she made seven starts. She produced her most consistent season as a sophomore, playing in all 30 games with 24 starts during the 2018-19 campaign while averaging 8.9 points and 3.2 boards. She was one of the best 3-point shooters in all of college basketball and led the Big Ten with a 45.6% shooting clip that tied the Nebraska single-season program record.
She missed four games while in the concussion protocol early last season, but returned to action and tied a career-high with six triples in a 19-point showing during Nebraska’s win over Duke (Dec. 4) in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
“After the Duke game I honestly probably slept maybe an hour or two that night because (her hip) just kept me up all night,” she told Hail Varsity in January. “It doesn’t hurt when I’m playing, but it’s after, when the adrenaline goes away.”
Following a win over Oral Roberts on Dec. 14, Williams announced Kissinger’s season was officially done.
The injury, a two-inch labral tear in her hip, one that came as a result of a stress reaction in March of 2019 that Kissinger played through, was initially believed to be something she could play through. It would only be a matter of pain tolerance. When her pain started impacting her day-to-day schedule, both sides decided it was time to look at surgery. “When it got to that point we knew it was time,” Williams said then.
Kissinger has been no stranger to rehab during her playing career, and it seems she had reached a point where enough is enough. Before high school, she broke her arm. She missed nearly 30 games over her junior and senior seasons of high school because of broken wrists. A knee injury her freshman year put her on the bench for a month.
Kissinger finishes her career with 559 points, 214 rebounds, 78 assists, and 36 steals. Her career 40.4% clip from 3-point range is the best mark in Nebraska women’s basketball history.
The Huskers will miss her shooting, but also her leadership on the court. Kissinger tracked gameplan-specific stats on the bench for NU after her surgery last season, though it’s unclear what her role will be moving forward.
The 2020-21 version of the Huskers will feature seven newcomers. Williams will be looking to replace four regular starters from last year’s squad. Kissinger, when healthy, started. Guards Hannah Whitish and Nicea Eliely both graduated. Forward Ashtyn Veerbeek transferred, as did the Big Ten’s Sixth Player of the Year Leigha Brown and reserve forward Kayla Mershon.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.