Zoe Beard-Fails, shown during her freshman season at South Lakes in January 2010, has verbally committed to Colorado. (Joel Richardson/For The Washington Post)

The 6-foot-2 Beard-Fails, who missed almost her entire junior season after tearing her ACL in the fifth game, chose Colorado in great part because of the rapport she had built with Buffaloes assistants LaTonya Watson and Kelly Rae Finley when they were on the staffs at American and Harvard, respectively.

When each ended up in Boulder a year apart, Beard-Fails took that as a sign that maybe she should join them.

“Both of them had been watching me for years before I got injured, so they know what I’m capable of and they trust that when I get there I’ll do what they’ve seen me do,” said Beard-Fails, who averaged 25.5 points and 18 rebounds her sophomore season and was named fourth-team All-Met.

“When I got injured,” Beard-Fails said, “a lot of schools were saying that maybe they should see me play again, which is understandable.”

Beard-Fails, who transferred to Georgetown Day after playing her freshman season at South Lakes, chose Colorado over Pitt and Penn.

“I think the most exciting thing for her is that [Colorado] feels like a program on the rise with some really terrific coaches,” Georgetown Day Coach Bobby Asher said. “They were very consistent supporting her throughout the injury and keeping tabs on her.”

Georgetown Day teammate Caira Washington, also a forward, has committed to George Washington. The early signing period begins Nov. 14.

Under third-year Coach Linda Lappe, Colorado has posted back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2003-04 and also has reached the WNIT each of the past two years. The Buffaloes went 21-14 last season, their first in the Pac-12 Conference, and return all but one regular off that team.

Beard-Fails perhaps could have averted her season-ending injury last year if she had made a particular free throw. She was at the foul line in a blowout win over National Cathedral, with a substitute at the scorer’s table ready to check in for her. But Beard-Fails missed the shot, got the rebound and tore her ACL on the play.

That not only ended her junior season but also her opportunity to play AAU. She figured that would derail her plan to commit before her senior season.

Beard-Fails’s return to basketball came in a one-day, 12-hour camp in August at the University of Michigan, a decision that she jokes might not have been the wisest given her long layoff. But participating in the camp enabled her to gauge and regain her skills among strangers. Michigan at the time was one of the colleges that she was considering.

“It was hard on my knee, but for me emotionally, I think it was good to get the first-game jitters out,” Beard-Fails said. “I played three games that day. The first one was just awful. The second one was better, but still I did not look at all like myself. And the third one I could see that I could still do the stuff I did before.”

The 6-foot-1 Washington, who committed to George Washington in June, also considered Delaware and Charlotte. She averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds last season.

“Staying home was a big part for me,” said Washington, a Brandywine resident. “Being able to have my family there. I love the DMV. I’ve been here for a long time and I love it here.”