“First week of practice, Julia actually had a very strange injury for basketball anyway,” Michigan State women's basketball Head Coach Suzy Merchant said. “It's a football injury, actually. She tore her Lisfranc ligament on the top of her foot. I think the doctor that did it actually did Patrick Mahomes' surgery and was like, ‘I can count on one hand how many basketball players I've seen this happen to.’ It was a 30 minute surgery, which was good. The bad thing is she's going to have to recoup all season.”
Injury update: Tory Ozment, Julia Ayrault out for 2021-22 season
“Tory tore her ACL the day after Big Ten Media Day,” Merchant added. “She had her surgery, and it was a clean tear so there was nothing else (wrong) – no meniscus (tear), no other damage.”
As veterans, Ozment and Ayrault were set to be two of the solid starters for the Spartans and they would have split key minutes at the four.
“Last year, we did this as well, so it's not new to us, but we play more forward/guard-like creatures and a little more small ball anyway, so we've been able to play different kids at that typical four spot,” Merchant said. “It's not a power four for us, it's never really has been. Even Julia at that spot was more face-up than post-up.”
Joiner took on that role during the Big Ten Tournament last year when Ozment and Ayrault were down, but that still is not her natural position, Merchant said.
“We've been able to move (Moira) Joiner to get some minutes there,” Merchant said. Our graduate transfer Tamara Farquhar is really good at that spot, that's her natural position. So we're going to be okay there. I've even ran Matilda (Ekh) at some of those positions at the four (for) when DeeDee (Hagemann) comes in, because I'd say she'll be the other one to pick up the slack there in terms of in minutes and the way she plays. ... They've been able to transition to our game very well.”
Everyone will have to contribute differently to make up for the gaps while Ozment and Ayrault are on the mend.
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