March 30, 2002

By ELIZABETH A. DAVIS
AP Sports Writer

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Oklahoma's run to the national championship game this season has surprised some. That feat pales in comparison to what Rosalind Ross has accomplished.

Ross, a senior who transferred to Oklahoma two years ago from a junior college, tore her right anterior cruciate ligament in high school. She didn't know it and has never had surgery.

It's near miraculous considering the severity of the injury. A torn ACL usually signals the end of the season for most players.

"She's a medical marvel," Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. "For whatever reason, she is able to function without it. And our doctors are amazed by her. They've amazed by her pain tolerance. They're amazed by her body's ability to compensate."

Oklahoma's Stacey Dales took a medical redshirt her freshman year because she tore her ACL in the season opener at Stephen F. Austin in San Antonio.

Ross scored a career-high 26 points in the national semifinals against Duke, shooting 7-for-14 from the floor.

She was invited to participate in the 3-pointer shooting contest at the men's Final Four in Atlanta on Saturday. She declined.

Ross put on her own show against Duke, shooting 4-for-8 from beyond the arc.

Ross hasn't decided when or if she'll undergo the six-hour surgery to repair her knee. If she tries out for the WNBA, the surgery would be put off again.

Ross' injury was misdiagnosed when she was a junior at Milwaukee Tech High School.

"My knee cap was on the side of my leg," she said. "I had to pop it in back in place. When I went to the doctor, they told me I had weak quads and hamstrings."

Oklahoma's trainers and doctors realized what was wrong through an MRI test they ordered when Ross reported for preseason practice two years ago.

"They have so much confidence in me, and I'm only playing on one leg. I really respect them for that," she said.