Damaged ACLs, sprained ankles, battered shoulders, jammed wrists and strained hamstrings. Just a few minutes of play, several games and the entire season.
When it comes to injuries, South Carolina women’s basketball has seen just about everything this season, forcing the Gamecocks to play without their stars and crucial depth on the bench for weeks at a time as Dawn Staley tries to keep the team afloat.
That situation got even worse this past Sunday when USC announced graduate transfer Lindsey Spann will miss the rest of the season with her third knee injury of the year. Now, with both Spann and fellow guard Bianca Cuevas-Moore out for the season, Staley has proclaimed 2017-2018 as the worst she’s had in terms of injuries over the course of her decade-long tenure at South Carolina.
“Never had as many injuries as we’ve had this season,” Staley confirmed Wednesday when asked how this year compares to her previous coaching experiences.
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South Carolina entered this season already a little light on players, with just 11 available as transfer Te’a Cooper sat out according to NCAA rules. But from the very opening game against Alabama State, the Gamecocks have never been at full strength, as no fewer than seven different players have missed at least a little time due to injury.
In cases like Doniyah Cliney and Tyasha Harris, those injuries have not prevented them from starting every game so far this season. But even still, Staley said, minor injuries can have an impact.
“The more healthy we are, the more success we’ve had, to be quite honest,” Staley said. “But it’s the luck of the draw when it comes to injuries. We’ve never had this many, but I think it’s time to write a new chapter on having an injury-plagued season.”
Full list of publicly-known injuries
Lindsey Spann: Missed nine games over two separate spans due to two different knee injuries before going down for the rest of the season on Feb. 11
Bianca Cuevas-Moore: Played one preseason game but has missed the entire regular season with an ACL injury
Mikiah Herbert Harrigan: Missed three games with a bone bruise to her knee
A’ja Wilson: Missed two games becasuse of a sprained ankle
Tyasha Harris: Missed the last quarter of South Carolina’s win against Vanderbilt with an ankle sprain, has also battled a wrist injury
Doniyah Cliney: Held out of the final portions of two games after injury scares to her ankle and shoulder
LaDazhia Williams: Missed a large chunk of the preseason and dealt with hamstring issues early on in the year