Friday, June 21, 2024

Thomas tears ACL; will miss season

Thomas

The MSU women’s basketball team took a big hit Friday when sophomore guard Brittney Thomas went down for the season, tearing the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, in her left knee, head coach Suzy Merchant announced.

“She’s done for the year and the prognosis will take place here in the next couple of days,” Merchant said. “She’s worked really hard because she came off an injury at the beginning of the year, so I’m sure it was disappointing for her. I feel like she wanted to be out there.”

The injury left MSU shorthanded and with little time to prepare for a strong Ohio State team on Sunday, Merchant said.

“When it happened late Friday, certainly you have some reservations, especially going into Ohio State,” Merchant said. “I think our kids, as disappointed as they were under the circumstances, they believed that they could find a way to make it happen. But I think it’s an effort by everybody to step up and say, ‘I think we can make this happen.’ I give a whole lot of credit to our defense and a whole lot of credit to everyone that played and doing the little things to make it happen.”

Since returning from a hand injury earlier this season, Thomas has been a workhorse for the Spartans, averaging 32.5 minutes per game. But it’s that absence that may be the saving grace for this team, as several different players were tried out at the point.

“I think it helped because it wasn’t as foreign as it could have been,” sophomore Kalisha Keane said.

Keane started Sunday’s game against Ohio State at point guard after playing much of the season as a power forward.

Keane, who will split most of the minutes left vacant by Thomas with freshman guard Porsché Poole, approached Merchant shortly after Thomas was injured and told the coach she could take the open position.

“I think I’m the kind of person that thinks about what’s next rather than dwelling,” Keane said. “I just went up and talked to coach and I was like, ‘OK, what are we going to do? I know these plays at the point guard position, I need to know some others, can you get me together a package of the plays?”

Through it all, Thomas is taking it well, Keane said.

“Brittney’s a tough person, as you can tell out there on the court,” Keane said. “I think it really reflects her personality. She’s reacting to it with a positive attitude.”

Even though the team is left without its point guard, junior center Allyssa DeHaan said the Spartans have more to rely on.

“(Thomas is) a big part of our team, especially on the defensive end, but she’s not the whole team,” DeHaan said. “There’s many components that make up what Michigan State basketball is. … I think everybody came out and stepped it up. We had to replace the effort and the minutes she brought for us, but she was still coaching us from the bench, so we had everybody with us for this game.”

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