The Times West Virginian

Sports

March 7, 2013

HERTZEL COLUMN-WVU’s Carey has felt this pain before

MORGANTOWN — It was a game Mike Carey could ill afford to lose, yet he lost it, and that wasn’t the biggest loss of the night.

Not even close.

See, while West Virginia University dropped the final-regular season game to Texas on Tuesday evening down in Austin, 58-45, a game Carey thought the Mountaineers needed to win to assure themselves a place in the NCAA Tournament, they lost junior forward Jess Harlee.

To a knee injury.

Yes, another knee injury.

Their third of the season.

And it seems like the 200th of Carey’s career as WVU women’s basketball coach.

The conversation on Tuesday afternoon went something like this:

“You coached Yelena Leuchanka, right?”

“Yeah.”

“She had two, right?”

“Yep.”

 “And Meg Bulger, she had two?”

“Right.”

“And this year it was Asya Bussie and Akilah Bethel and now Jess Harlee?”

“Hard to believe.”

“And didn’t Ramika McGee have a knee?”

“Yeah.”

“And Vanessa House?”

“Yep.”

“Jessica Capers had one in 2009, right?”

“She did.”

“LaQuanda Brandon, Kate Glusko.”

“Them, too.”

And there were probably others, to say nothing of Lanay Montgomery, who came to WVU this year with a knee she injured in high school and is rehabbing it this year.

It’s enough to make you wonder how and why it keeps happening here, but if you look into it you find there as many knee surgeries in women’s basketball as there are Tommy John surgeries in major league baseball.

Think of WVU’s knees this year … three injuries on a 14-player team. That’s proportionately like having 20 knee surgeries in a season on a football team.

A survey a number of years back showed there are far more knee injuries in women’s basketball and soccer than there is in men’s basketball and soccer.

Sometimes the timing stinks. Connecticut star Shea Ralph a few years ago saw a knee go out for the third time in her career in the finals of the Big East Tournament, keeping her out of the NCAA Tournament.

That same year Tennessee had been dominating the sport but missed the NCAAs because its star, Tamika Catchings, the national player of the year the season before, tore an anterior cruciate ligament in January.

It’s been estimated that one in 10 female college athletes suffers a major knee injury (usually an ACL tear) every year. That’s about five times more than men and it is startling stuff.

And if they were to just study what has gone on at WVU, the experts might be stunned.

Harlee’s injury came just before halftime with the ball loose on the baseline. Carey was at the end and isn’t sure what happened.

“There’s no doubt she injured the knee. There was a lot of pain,” he said.

Harlee had become as important a player as Carey had on the team, a player who came off the bench and offered shutdown defense and a kind of energy that took the Mountaineers to another level.

“It’s just amazing,” Carey said. “Jess has been playing so well, a lot of energy, a lot of heart. When she got hurt it was like a big letdown for everybody. You could just see the air go out of the players.”

They hadn’t played well in the first half, couldn’t make a shot, but they had a chance … until the injury closed out the evening for them.

Now there’s the Big 12 Tournament and they have to do it without Harlee … and Bussie … and Bethel … and Montgomery.

“We’ll try to regroup again,” Carey said. “We’ve done this a lot of different times.”

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Post 17 #7 Post 2 #12 mw.JPG Post 17 falls short in Area II championship

    Sometimes getting a bad game out of your system is what a team needs.
    Post 17 Fairmont is hoping that they’ve now gotten all of its bad games out of the way, falling to Post 2 Morgantown, 10-0, via a 7th inning mercy rule, crowning Morgantown Area II American Legion champions.
    After playing 18 innings the night before, Fairmont couldn’t seem to get anything going at East Fairmont High School Sunday afternoon.
    As rain clouds loomed over the field, so, too, did one settle in over Post 17’s offense, Fairmont collecting just four hits the entire game.
    “Definitely not one of our better games as a team,” Fairmont’s Austin Norman said of his team’s performance. “We’ll come up tomorrow, hit and get on the same page.”

    July 28, 2014 7 Photos

  • Harrison’s 4 hits leads Pirates past Rockies, 7-5

    Josh Harrison had four hits, including a tiebreaking homer, to help the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Colorado Rockies 7-5 on Sunday.

    July 27, 2014

  • MLB inducts newest members into Hall of Fame

    Frank Thomas choked back tears, Joe Torre apologized for leaving people out of his speech and Tony La Russa said he felt uneasy.

    July 27, 2014

  • Post 17 falls short of Area II championship

    Sometimes getting a bad game out of your system is what a team needs.

    July 27, 2014

  • Italy’s Nibali wins Tour de France

    Vincenzo Nibali won the Tour de France on Sunday, becoming the first Italian in 16 years to triumph in cycling’s greatest race by chiseling a lead over his main rivals a few seconds at a time and dominating them in the mountains.

    July 27, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: La Russa gives old pal Leyland a taste of Hall of Fame

    Jim Leyland didn’t expect it, at least not yet, but there he was in Cooperstown, New York for this week’s induction ceremony.

    July 27, 2014

  • JAMES UNDER RAINBOW -TS.jpg Post 17 plays itself into Area II championship game: PHOTOS

    The goal was simple for Post 17 Fairmont: Beat Bridgeport and advance to the state American Legion Tournament. But it left with more than a state tournament berth Saturday night at East Fairmont High School.
    After beating Bridgeport, 11-8, Fairmont secured a spot in next week’s state tournament. But with one challenge down, Fairmont moved on to the next: Playing itself into an area championship game.

    July 27, 2014 14 Photos

  • Knowing facts key to preventing sports injuries

    Youth sports injuries have been on the rise in recent years, leading parents, players and coaches asking one thing: How can we prevent these things from happening?
    A recent poll on the Times West Virginian website revealed that 41.8 percent of readers believe that there is no way to prevent injuries, while 26.47 percent said the best way to prevent injuries was to not play at all and 20.59 percent said that working hard was the best way to limit injuries.

    July 27, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
    This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.

    July 27, 2014

  • Pirates fall victim to Rockies, 8-1

    Nolan Arenado bounced back from a benching with three hits, including a home run, and the Colorado Rockies beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-1 on Saturday night.
    Tyler Matzek pitched three-hit ball over seven scoreless innings. Drew Stubbs and Corey Dickerson also homered for the Rockies, who have won three straight.

    July 27, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos