Colorado women’s basketball star Kindyll Wetta’s inspiring battle on the court – you won’t believe her determination!

MANHATTAN, Kansas — Kindyll Wetta's car trips with her parents turned her into the nasty basketball player she is today in Colorado.

The junior guard was asked a question every day before her games: “Are we going to be nice or are we going to be nasty?” She chose nasty then and has done so in every game since. Wetta also maintained the mindset through multiple ACL tears. If anything, the injuries perfected him.

As a freshman at Valor Christian High School, he was the victim of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. After recovering, he did the same to his right knee a year later. Her mother, Valerie Wetta, did the same in her basketball career: a resume that included college basketball for the Buffaloes after her injuries and a subsequent inspiration for her daughter to keep going.

The only Colorado player on the roster also catalyzes its success, even if headlines don't always mention her by name.

“Kindyll sees defense the same way he sees everything in life,” Colorado coach JR Payne said. “She will attack it head on, she will have no fear in her quest to be the best she can be, whether it's organic chemistry or defense or whatever. “She has fought.”

Wetta has started just three times in the 96 games he has played in Colorado. However, his 23.3 minutes per game this year is still fifth on the list.

Against Drake, the Buffs trailed 11-3 in the first three minutes. Enter Wetta and the difference he can make to a team and its energy. He had multiple rebounds and a steal to start the streak and added a career-high 16 points the rest of the game to hold the lead for good.

Wetta's game reminds her family of her mother's, but she is a player built in her own mold: a defensive tyrant who can bother opposing teams and give her own a boost when they subsequently fold. All without the luxuries of 30+ minutes a night or regular starts.

Playing basketball as a reserve is still better than not playing at all. Wetta accepts the role and is reminded every day why it is so appropriate. She makes herself tough because she is.

“I think Kindyll is one of the most productive and inspiring players on our team,” Payne said. “That's why she comes off the bench, because she can bring something off the bench that no one else on our team brings.”

Toughness runs a fine line, and Wetta found it in the third grade.

Playing in a nasty manner, she kicked an opposing player in one of her games and was quickly reprimanded for it. The Wetta family is destined to be nasty on the court, but not dirty. Her father Robb reminded him of her lesson and gave him a pearl of wisdom.

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“They made me apologize to the girl after the game,” Kindyll said. “You have to be someone that people look up to on the court and not just hate her because she's dirty. There is a fine line and I have always tried to prioritize playing hard, but not dirty.”

Jaylyn Sherrod, the Buffaloes' headline-grabbing figure, is one of Wetta's biggest fans.

Coming off the bench has not been easy for Wetta. Like any basketball player, he wants to be part of the leading group that heads into battle first. However, that is a personal need, not a team need. She reminds herself of this often and, when she needs help, Sherrod steps in and helps her.

Wetta admired Sherrod before coming to Colorado. As a prep player, she saw the tenacity the Buffaloes guard had and what she could do to help win. She simply plays the same position that Wetta is asked to play when she is not on the wing as a smaller forward.

What appeared to be a battle of position has turned into a relationship of support.

“She's an absolutely incredible player,” Wetta said. “At first I thought there was going to be a more competitive relationship between us. With her playing (shooting guard) and me coming in and playing both (shooting guard) and (forward), it really helped build our relationship.

“She always says, 'Let's go out there, be aggressive, be tenacious and do it together.'”

Together, Colorado has created a culture where Wetta can thrive and her teammates can do the same for her.

Fans can call Wetta a native, the next generation of a Colorado basketball family lineage, or simply Kindyll. Payne simply calls her “America's greatest defender.” If the coach could, she would happily fill a squad with players like her.

Wetta will likely always give a humble response to the statement and a small smile of gratitude. But don't be fooled, she is unpleasant and she has been since the trip to the arena.

It is a choice she makes and will continue to make with pride.

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