AMES, Iowa – Third chances don’t come around very often, but former Cyclone women’s basketball player Toccara Ross will try to make the most of hers.

The Davenport, Iowa, native tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee during her senior season in 2007-08, but the NCAA granted her a second chance, by giving her a fifth year of eligibility to play for Iowa State. While Ross played in 33 games and had several bright spots during the Cyclones’ run to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2008-09, she struggled to come back from her injury.

Now the 5-11 forward will get another chance as she begins a professional career in Puerto Rico in August. She will play for Pollitas de Isabela, which is part of the Liga Superior Femenina league.

“I feel great,” Ross said. “The knee is good. I am playing three or four times a week. I am playing in the Grand View league in Des Moines this summer. It feels like old times.”

Ross got the opportunity to join the team in Puerto Rico after trying out with several other American players in May. She and the other players faced the Puerto Rican National Team in their tryout in front of coaches and owners from nine of the 10 teams.

“It was very physical,” Ross said. “When we played against the National Team, it was like a Big 12 game. There weren’t a lot of calls and if there were, they kind of brushed it off. It’s going to be familiar to me because I’ve played in the Big 12 and it’s like that every day.”

After averaging two points and 1.6 rebounds per game last season, Ross believes this is the perfect opportunity for her to take her game back to the level she expects to play.

“This was my first option and I went with it because it’s a very good league,” she said. “It’s like a starter league. Coming off last season, I didn’t have a lot of stats, so it was a very good opportunity to gradually get into the pro arena and see if I can not only handle it, but see if it is the level of competition I want. It’s kind of like a stepping stone for me.”

In the meantime, Ross is putting her degrees in communication studies and speech communications to good use and is trying to learn Spanish. She is doing an internship with Iowa Heath Systems through the summer and is excited about the experience she has gained.

Ross’ professional basketball career will begin Aug. 6, in her season opener, and she is ready to find out where she stacks up and how she will fit in with her new team.

“I definitely want to continue playing to see how far I can go,” she said. “I think I have to prove it to myself that I can go out there and compete. This year I really didn’t get the chance because of the injury or the game situation, and so this is a chance to prove to myself that I can come back from an injury.”

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