South Carolina women’s basketball senior guard Bianca Cuevas-Moore will miss the entire 2017-2018 season with an ACL injury to her knee, the team announced shortly before the Gamecocks tipped off against Savannah State on Sunday.
Cuevas-Moore had missed the first 10 games of the season with what was described as a knee sprain. Head coach Dawn Staley announced Friday that the senior guard had suffered a “minor setback” in practice and would not play Sunday.
“Well considering we did play 10 games without her, you kinda get used to not having her around. Although if we could have had her, it would have given our team a boost,” Staley said after the Gamecocks defeated the Lady Tigers, 99-38. “With injuries, it’s tough, because you don’t want to see any kid not be able to play, especially her senior year, due to injury. But we have to keep it moving, because everyone’s getting hit with the injury bug. I’m just sorry that she won’t be able to join this team, but I’m kinda happy it happened when it happened so we could just kind of keep it moving.”
When asked Friday, Staley had said a redshirt season was possible for Cuevas-Moore. In the team’s official press release Sunday, a possible redshirt season was not mentioned. Cuevas-Moore was seen before the game wearing a knee brace and using crutches.
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“We haven’t discussed that,” Staley said of a possible redshirt. “We just got the infortmation maybe a day or two ago that she won’t be playing. So that’s later on down the line.”
Cuevas-Moore averaged 8.4 points per game and shot 37.4 percent from 3 last season, and was expected to be a key player this season as the Gamecocks attempted to replace three starters from last year’s championship team. She played in the team’s lone exhibition game against Coker on Nov. 3.
In her first three seasons with South Carolina, Cuevas-Moore appeared in 108 of 109 games, averaging 6.9 points and 18.6 minutes per game.
In addition to Cuevas-Moore, Staley’s team will also be without redshirt senior Lindsey Spann, who has a knee injury as well, on Sunday. Staley has not given an exact timeline for Spann’s return but said Friday that she is still not practicing with the team.
Without Cuevas-Moore and Spann, USC has just four guards and nine players on its roster. Now that Cuevas-Moore is out for the season, the Gamecocks will likely be even more eager to have transfer guard Te’a Cooper obtain a waiver to become immediately eligible. Staley said Friday that the team is waiting for Cooper’s first semester grades to become official before submitting the waiver to the NCAA.
“One thing I know about this team is that we overcome adversity,” senior forward A’ja Wilson said after the game. “And it’s tough to see a great player like Bianca go down, but she’s level-headed, she’s a strong-minded female, and we just feed off that. We know we have to pick up a lot. She gave us a lot of speed, she gave us a spark off the bench, and you know we have to fill in there. So right now we’re just focused on how do we get these young players in the groove, so come SEC time, it’s not anything new.”