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
  • WVU, Tennessee finalize 2018 meeting

    West Virginia University and Tennessee have finalized their season-opening, Sept. 1, 2018, meeting in Charlotte, N.C., at Bank of America Stadium.
    Both teams will receive $2.5 million for the game and have a chance to earn up to $3.2 million with ticket incentives.
    Each team will buy 12,500 tickets and set aside 2,000 of its allotment for students.
    The game, played on the home field of the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, is being put on by the Charlotte Sports Federation.

    July 23, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Fleming, Billy.jpg WVU’s Fleming signs contract with Yankees

     Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.
    “Ever since I was a little kid, it’s been my dream to play professional baseball,” Fleming said. “It is still surreal that I get to chase my dream, but I am ready to get after it. I loved my three years at WVU and want to thank all the coaches that made it possible for me to achieve my dream.”

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Growing demands on college athletes concerns Wyant

    Fred Wyant, one of the greatest quarterbacks in West Virginia University’s history, has lashed out at today’s growing demands on college athletes.
    The 80-year-old Star City resident led the Mountaineers to a 30-4 record as the starter from 1952-1955. Percentage-wise, it’s clearly the best-ever record by a QB in school annals.
    Wyant, a member of the WVU Sports Hall of Fame, came here after graduating with honors from Weston High School. That’s where WVU coach Art “Pappy” Lewis signed him to a four-year scholarship.

    July 23, 2014

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time.jpg Texas’ Strong prefers not talking about national title

    Charlie Strong riled up plenty of Texas fans during a statewide spring tour by saying the Longhorns wouldn’t be in the national championship game.
    The new coach toned down his honest assessment in future stops, then said Tuesday in his first appearance at Big 12 media days that he prefers not even talking about championships.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • NMHS hopes new playing surface generates excitement

    The St. Louis Rams coined the nickname “The Greatest Show on Turf” for their collective group or multiple Hall of Famer-caliber players in during the 1999-2001 seasons. If Rams can run on turf, why not Huskies? 

    July 22, 2014

  • FSU's Barfield, Jean-Charles named preseason All-Americans

    Chris Barfield and Jacob Jean-Charles earn preseason honors by being named to the USA College Football Division II Preseason All-American team.

    July 21, 2014

  • Baylor coach isn't buying schedule strength argument

    The College Football Playoff committee has vowed that strength of schedule will be a major criteria when selecting the four teams.

    July 21, 2014

  • Big 12 Commissioner says cheating pays

    Big 12 Commissioner says the NCAA lacks the resources to enforce its rules and that has to change.

    July 21, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos