Goose Creek girls basketball coach Tim Baldwin calls Ashley Fields one of the best players to ever wear a Gators uniform.

While the 5-9 senior doesn't put up gaudy statistics every game, Baldwin says he can always count on a consistent effort from his fourth-year starter.

Fields has been with the varsity since the eighth grade and was a freshman starter on Goose Creek's state title team. Baldwin says it was her early maturity and toughness that impressed him from day one.

“The thing about Ashley is that she really plays hard in every minute of every game,” said the coach. “When they tip it off, she is ready to go and she goes until the final buzzer. She has always been that way.

“It doesn't matter if she scores 16 points or six points. She just loves to win.”

A testament to her toughness was never more evident than last season. Unknown to most, Fields played her entire junior season with an injured knee. During the preseason, she dislocated her knee cap. The injury required surgery last March but she played her season through the pain.

“As her coach, I could tell it affected her play some but she always gave it 100 percent,” said Baldwin. “That's the type of player and person she is. She never complained but I knew she was in pain after every game.”

Fields admits each game was a struggle physically last season, but she never allowed it to affect her mental attitude.

“I never used it as an excuse,” she said. “It was a daily battle but I tried to hide it. I didn't want to miss a game because I knew my team needed me.”

Fields says she is back to her old self. She'scurrently averaging 12.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 4.6 steals per game for the 15-3 Gators.

“The knee feels great and I'm so happy that I can play with no pain,” said Fields, who has signed to play next season at High Point University. “I want to go out with a bang. We won state my freshman year and we were close the last two years. I want another chance to win it.”