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Through Unusual Amount Of Pain And Suffering, Jannah Tucker Blossoms Into Star At Villanova

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VILLANOVA, Pa. (CBS) – Every journey has its own path. Jannah Tucker's was filed with an unusual amount of pain and suffering before weaving its way toward basketball and healing.

Back in 2013, Tucker was the sixth-best high-school player in the country with a full scholarship to powerhouse University of Tennessee. She was bright-eyed, full of life and youthful energy, and ready to start her basketball career.

But her then boyfriend had other plans.

"I was supposed to leave for Tennessee and it was like a flip just switched," Tucker said, "and he just said I wasn't leaving."

(Credit: CBS3)

He held her hostage inside his house for months.

"Took my phone. He was contacting my parents, my coaches as if he were me. My parents kind of felt at a point that this was not me," Tucker said. "I was 18 so the police couldn't do anything."

Tucker went through unimaginable physical and psychological torture that she is still dealing with. Then, one day, while her boyfriend was at work, she found her phone.

"I texted my mom and I sent her pictures of my face and I said, 'Please don't call the police. He said he was going to kill me,'" Tucker said.

After sitting out as a freshman, Tucker played only two games as a sophomore at Tennessee before hurting her knee again – but not from basketball.

"My injuries were because of the abuse," Tucker said. "I never actually tore my ACL. It was just so loose from so much trauma."

And that's when she called Villanova coach Harry Peretta.

"She was one of the kids I thought we might get back on a transfer," Peretta said. "I just had that feeling. She fit so well when she came to visit.

(Credit: CBS3)

For the past two seasons at Villanova, Tucker hasn't just been a starter – she's been a star.

"When she came here, she just seemed to flourish," Peretta said.

"I'm just so grateful for everybody that heard me and everybody that supported me," Tucker said. "There are so many situations much deeper than mine that don't get the support that you need."

It's clear that Villanova is not only her support system but also part of her family.

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