In June, there was surgery to repair a meniscus ligament in her left knee. In November, a nasty bout with the stomach flu. In December, a minor foot infection that hobbled her.
And in March, there was a sprained right ankle that continues to bother her.
Stanford played without Appel in its regular-season finale against Cal and only had her for limited minutes during the Pac-10 Tournament. While the Cardinal won all of those games, it recognized her importance.
"With her ankle injury, we have come to appreciate her more,” VanDerveer said. "She ... hasn’t only performed on the offensive end, but she has also defended and rebounded well.”
One thing Appel hasn’t done?
Win a national championship.
Even though Stanford is a combined 132-15 during Appel’s career, a title has eluded the Cardinal. This is her last chance to change that, and she intends to make the most of it.
"It would be expected for things to be nerve-wracking,” Appel said of playing in the NCAA Tournament for the last time, "but I think I am more excited to see how our team will play.”