Briyona Canty


In May 2012, Briyona Canty underwent surgery to treat a congenital heart condition. Only eight months later, she had to have a mircrofracture in her left knee repaired, ending her second season with the Scarlet Knights women’s basketball team.

Nick Romanenko

Talk about a rebound season. Like the rest of the Rutgers women’s basketball team, Briyona Canty wants to improve upon last year’s record, when the Scarlet Knights failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament (even though they were 16-14 overall). But Canty, a redshirt sophomore guard from Willingboro, New Jersey, has some rebounding of her own to do.

In May 2012, following her first year on the team, Canty underwent eight hours of surgery to repair a congenital heart condition. Her recovery began with six days in the hospital and 30 days of bed rest. Before she could step back on a basketball court, she had lost more than 20 pounds. “That was tough,” Canty says. “After surgery, I was at my weakest point. I couldn’t lift myself up. I couldn’t walk.”

By July, she was running sprints with her teammates but was still unable to compete on the court. By the season opener, however, she earned a spot on the starting five. Canty played the first seven games last season, then learned that the persistent pain she’d felt in her left knee was, in fact, a microfracture. She would require another surgery. By mid-December 2012, after less than a month, her comeback season was over.

Canty was forbidden from playing basketball until last summer. In November, just days before the Scarlet Knights’ first game, Canty said she was operating at 98 percent of her full strength. Still, she said, she had “no idea” whether coach C. Vivian Stringer would choose her to be a starter. “On Sunday,” Canty said, referring to the opening game against Princeton, “we’ll be as shocked as everyone else whoever she calls out there for the starting five.”

As it turned out, Canty got the call. In Rutgers’ 14-point win, she scored 10 points, tying her career high. Not a bad first step in a rebound season.