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NCAA basketball injuries: Notre Dame’s Olivia Miles out for season

Notre Dame’s Olivia Miles will miss the NCAA Tournament with a knee injury. (Alonzo Adams/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Notre Dame leading scorer Olivia Miles left the final game of the regular season against Louisville with a knee injury, putting a damper on her team’s ACC regular-season championship.

The Irish’s Feb. 26 win secured the first conference title for Notre Dame since 2019. But Miles hurt her knee while diving for a loose ball in the second quarter and did not return to the game. And she will not return for the postseason, as Notre Dame announced Thursday.

The sophomore guard missed the conference tournament, and while the Irish had left open the possibility of her return for the NCAA Tournament, the team announced Thursday she would miss the rest of the season. While coach Niele Ivey said the exact nature of Miles’ injury is “undisclosed for her privacy,” she will have surgery late next week.

Other teams, including UConn and Ohio State, also have dealt with injuries throughout the 2022-23 campaign. Just Women’s Sports lays out the most notable injured players and, where possible, the timetables for their returns.

Out for season

Olivia Miles, Notre Dame

In another blow to the Irish, the team announced Thursday that their second-team All-American point guard will miss the remainder of the season. According to the school, it was decided that she would miss the NCAA Tournament, “after consulting with the medical staff and undergoing treatment and examinations by our physicians.”

No. 3 seed Notre Dame is set to face off against No. 14 seed Southern Utah in the tournament’s first round Friday.

Dara Mabrey, Notre Dame

The fifth-year guard exited her team’s Jan. 22 win over Virginia with a knee injury. She came up with a steal just two minutes into the contest, then went down holding her knee after being fouled.

Soon after, Mabrey announced that she had torn her ACL, bringing an end to her season and her college career.

“While it certainly is not the way that I wanted to go out, I’m confident that everything happens for a reason,” Mabrey wrote in a social media post. “I know I will find peace with my situation as I recover in the coming months.

“I’m ready to continue to lead my team from the sideline. This team is special, and I can’t wait to see what we can do.”

Stephanie Soares, Iowa State

The 6-foot-6 forward tore the ACL in her left knee during a Jan. 8 loss to Oklahoma.

Soares had transferred to Iowa State from The Master’s University, an NAIA school. She twice won the NAIA Player of the Year award but also tore the same ACL ahead of the 2020-21 season.

In her final year of eligibility with the Cyclones she made her case as a WNBA prospect. She averaged 14.4 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game through 13 games.

“This was not how I expected my season to end, but I am thankful for the opportunities I have gotten at Iowa State,” Soares said in a statement.

Paige Bueckers, UConn

The UConn star tore her ACL in a pick-up game before the season started, and an MRI confirmed that the junior would miss the entire 2022-23 season. Bueckers quickly announced that she would be returning for her senior year and not entering the WNBA draft.

This is the second injury Bueckers has sustained during her time at UConn. Last season, she missed several months with a tibial plateau fracture that required surgery. She returned to lead the Huskies to the 2022 national championship game, where they lost to South Carolina.

Bueckers, the No. 1 recruit in 2020, was named the AP Player of the Year and the Naismith Player of the Year during her freshman campaign. Last season, she averaged 14.6 points, four rebounds and 3.9 assists per game.

The 2020-21 National Player of the Year is out for the season with an ACL tear. (Khoi Ton/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Ice Brady, UConn

UConn’s bad injury luck also impacted the No. 5 recruit in the country. Brady is out for the year after suffering a non-contact injury in practice early in the season. She dislocated the patella in her right knee and underwent surgery in October.

Ayoka Lee, Kansas State

Like Bueckers, Lee watched her season end before it even began. The Kansas State center suffered a knee injury in August and underwent season-ending surgery. The senior said she will return to the Wildcats in 2023-24.

Lee has battled knee injuries for two seasons, and Kansas State initially thought they could do maintenance in the offseason to get their best player healthy enough to play.

The 6-foot-6 senior averaged 22 points and 10.3 rebounds per contest in 2021-22, setting the NCAA women’s single-game scoring record with 61 points against Oklahoma on Jan. 23.

Lauren Ware, Arizona

The junior forward, who helped Arizona to the national game as a freshman, is out for the season after injuring her knee in August.

Ware dislocated her patella in December 2021, but after missing four games she returned for the remainder of the 2021-22 calendar. She aggravated the injury during a practice in August, and while she tried to work her way back, she had season-ending surgery in November.

As a sophomore Ware started 24 of 25 games for Arizona, averaging 5.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per contest.

Madison Greene, Ohio State

Greene took over at point guard for Ohio State in place of injured Jacy Sheldon — until she went down with her own injury in a comeback win over USF on Dec. 20.

The redshirt junior fell to the floor holding her knee late in the fourth quarter. She left the court after several minutes and was unable to put weight on her left leg, and she will miss the rest of the season as a result of the injury.

Greene missed all of the 2021-22 season due to a knee injury that required surgery. This season, she appeared in 12 games, averaging 10.9 points and 5.0 assists per game.

Aaliyah Moore, Texas

The sophomore forward will miss the rest of the season with an ACL tear, the Longhorns announced on Dec. 13.

The 6-1 forward left early in the team’s 107-54 win over Alabama State. She went down on a drive to the basket and was unable to put any weight on her leg as she left the floor.

Moore started all nine of Texas’ games before her injury, averaging  11.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per contest.

Texas has had an up-and-down start to the season with Rori Harmon sidelined. (Chris Covatta/Getty Images)

Returned to the court

Azzi Fudd, UConn

The sophomore exited her team’s game against Notre Dame on Dec. 4 after colliding with a teammate. While she returned after five weeks, she reinjured her knee in her second game back against Georgetown on Jan. 15, but returned for the Big East tournament.

Fudd is no stranger to injuries, as the guard tore her ACL and MCL in high school, and then missed 11 games during her freshman season at UConn with a foot injury. Prior to her previous injury, Fudd led UConn with 20.6 points per game.

McKenna Warnock, Iowa

Iowa’s senior forward injured her rib cage early in her team’s win over Michigan State on Jan. 18. She missed the Hawkeyes’ next game, an upset win over previously unbeaten Ohio State, and coach Lisa Bluder said Warnock would be day-to-day.

The senior made her return on Feb. 2 as Iowa defeated Maryland 96-82.

Kayla McPherson, North Carolina

The redshirt freshman guard made her first appearance for the Tar Heels in a win over Clemson on Jan. 29, after suffering a lower body injury during practice in October. She spent last season rehabbing a knee injury sustained in high school, and the second injury was unrelated.

McPherson has played three games for the Tar Heels, and is averaging 9.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists.

Ashley Owusu, Virginia Tech

The guard returned to action in a win over Pitt on Thursday, January 19 after missing a month of games.

She left the Hokies’ win over Nebraska on Dec. 1 due to an injury to her shooting hand. Owusu had broken her pinkie finger and underwent surgery, coach Kenny Brooks told ESPN on Dec. 15.

The Maryland transfer was averaging 10.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists through her first seven games with the Hokies.

Rori Harmon, Texas

The Big 12 Freshman of the Year in 2021-22 missed the first five games of the year for Texas with a foot injury. She was seen wearing a boot during the Longhorns’ season opener, and was day-to-day until returning to the lineup in a 74-50 win over Princeton on Nov. 27.

Kayleigh Truong, Gonzaga

The Gonzaga guard suffered a foot injury during a Battle 4 Atlantis contest against Tennessee on Nov. 21.

The senior started five games for Gonzaga before her injury, averaging 9.4 points and 4.6 assists per game. She returned on Feb. 23.

Dorka Juhász, UConn

After breaking her thumb in an 83-76 win over Texas on Nov. 14, the UConn senior was expected to miss three games. She was sidelined for her team’s wins over NC State, Duke, Iowa and Providence as well as the loss to Notre Dame.

Juhász made her return in UConn’s win over Florida State on Dec. 18, finishing with 15 points, 9 rebounds, 5 blocks and 4 assists.

Diamond Johnson, NC State

Johnson suffered an ankle injury on Dec. 11 as her team topped USF 65-57. The injury took place midway through the second quarter when she went up for a fast-break layup.

The junior guard returned on Jan. 5 from her four-game absence, contributing 18 points in a loss to Boston College.

Jacy Sheldon, Ohio State

Ohio State fans rejoiced on Feb. 5 as Sheldon returned to the court for the Buckeyes in her first appearance since Nov. 30. And though the celebration was short-lived thanks to a blowout loss at the hands of Maryland, Sheldon’s return bodes well for Ohio State.

The point guard had been out with a lower-leg injury since she logged 39 minutes against Louisville on Nov. 30. The program didn’t provide specifics on her injury, but she spent time on the sidelines in a walking boot.

Grace Berger, Indiana

The senior point guard injured her knee against Auburn on Nov. 25. She missed eight games before returning to the court in a dominant win against Northwestern on Jan. 8.

“It felt really great, almost like surreal because it feels like it’s been forever since I played a game,” Berger said. “Definitely a little nervous and really anxious at first. I feel really fortunate that I had a chance to get back out there with a good bit of the season left.”

Indiana star Grace Berger returned to the court on Jan. 8. (Rich Janzaruk/USA TODAY Sports)

KC Current GM Camille Ashton Resigns

KC Current GM Camille Ashton
Former KC Current GM Camille Ashton left the undefeated organization early this week. (Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

Kansas City Current general manager Camille Ashton has resigned, the club announced Wednesday.

The staffing shakeup comes as somewhat of a surprise after the Current started off the season undefeated under new head coach Vlatko Andonovski, sitting second in the NWSL standings through 10 games.

No further details were given about her departure, other than that the club "wishes her the best in her future endeavors."

"I am thankful for my time in Kansas City," Ashton said in a team statement. "It was important to me to dedicate my time and efforts to ensure a successful 2024 season by building the championship-caliber roster that's currently near the top of the table. I am proud of what we have accomplished here. I look forward to the next step in my personal and professional journey."

Ashton, who played in the league from 2014-17, helped rebuild the Current roster, including picking up then-free agent Debinha in 2023 — the biggest free agency signing of that offseason. This past offseason, she brought in international players Temwa Chawinga and Bia Zaneratto

But the club has also encountered some rough patches throughout Ashton's tenure. Following her daughter's dismissal from the Current last year, mother of 2023 draft pick Mykiaa Minniss also accused the club of mistreatment during the preseason. While both the league and NWSL Players Association looked into the comments, no formal reprimand or consequences were publicly issued.

Players like Lynn Williams, Alex Loera, and Cece Kizer voiced concerns over what they described as unexpected trades, with Kizer adding that there was "no conversation this could happen." Williams, meanwhile, was informed of her trade moments prior to its execution while she was in New Zealand with the USWNT.

"There could be a lot of debate about that on its own, but at the end of the day, that’s the mechanism that we work with right now in the league," Ashton told reporters earlier this year when quested about the Current's player trade procedures.

While the club made an NWSL championship appearance in 2022 — the year Ashton came on as general manager — the 2023 season kicked off with the team firing head coach Matt Potter just three games into the season and hours before a road game. 

At the time, the club cited "issues around his leadership and employment responsibilities" as the reasoning, though players were reportedly confused with the decision making.

Last October, the Current hired former UWSNT coach Vlatko Andonovski as head coach, in addition to giving him the title of "sporting director." Whether or not that role overlapped with Ashton’s responsibilities as general manager was cause for some speculation.

NWSL Honors UWSNT Great Lauren Holiday With Impact Award

Lauren Holiday at nwsl impact award event
USWNT legend Lauren Holiday has long been involved with social activism off the pitch. (NWSL)

The NWSL announced today that the annual civically focused Nationwide Community Impact Award would now be known as the Lauren Holiday Award in honor of the National Soccer Hall of Famer.

Since 2021, the award has recognized one NWSL player each season for their character and contributions to community service off the pitch, according to a league release. The winner of the newly retitled award receives $30,000 toward a charitable organization of their choice.

"The NWSL is proud to honor Lauren Holiday as the namesake of this award recognizing exemplary athletes and their commitment to service and activism," said NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman. "Lauren’s influential work in the community and her outstanding character both on and off the field epitomize the values we look to uphold and celebrate in the NWSL every day. 

"I can think of no one more deserving of this recognition than Lauren and look forward to seeing the continued positive impact this program has on our clubs and communities with her example guiding our efforts."

In a statement, Holiday said that throughout her career she has always "believed in the power of giving back and creating positive change." A two-time Olympic gold medalist, World Cup winner, and former NWSL MVP, Holiday founded the Jrue & Lauren Holiday Social Impact Fund alongside husband and fellow professional athlete JRue Holiday.

The fund contributes to programs that combat systemic racism and socioeconomic inequality. Holiday has also long been an advocate for legislation to help close the racial inequality gap in maternal health.

"This award is a testament to the important work that athletes are doing to strengthen and uplift their communities every day and I am deeply humbled to take on its namesake," Holiday said. "I hope it inspires others to continue their efforts in making a lasting impact on the lives of those around them."

Waylaid Seattle Rookie Nika Mühl Makes WNBA Debut

seattle storm's nika muhl guarding indiana fever's caitlin clark
Mühl spent her first few pro minutes repeating her college assignment: guarding Caitlin Clark.(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Seattle rookie Nika Mühl made her long awaited WNBA debut in last night’s 85-83 win over Indiana after missing the first four games of the season due to visa issues. 

A Croatian national, Mühl had been waiting on P-1 visa approval in order to work legally in the US. While the paperwork came through Friday, she had to travel to Canada in order to get her status changed.

The former UConn star poked fun at the delay ahead of the game, walking into Climate Pledge Arena wearing a t-shirt displaying her approved visa.

Mühl checked into the game on Monday in the third period to a standing ovation, immediately diving over the baseline to save a loose ball. She spent her first few minutes of the game the same way she completed her career at UConn: guarding Caitlin Clark

Mühl, who had two rebounds in two and a half minutes, held Clark to five points, a rebound, and a turnover when the two were matched up. 

"I threw her in the fire," Storm coach Noelle Quinn said with a smile after the game. "It’s tough to come into the game at that rate and think that you’re going to stop the player, but I like… her physicality, her poise, her confidence. She took an open shot and I thought that was a great look for her. We’ll continue to put her in the mix in practice, and she’ll have opportunities to show what she can do on the defensive end to start."

An instant fan favorite, the UConn star donned the No. 1 jersey — in part because her usual No. 10 was retired by Seattle after Sue Bird, who wore it for her entire WNBA career, retired last year. Mühl's new number was chosen by none other than Bird herself. 

"I actually FaceTimed Sue and asked her what number I should wear. She took a day to think about it and came back to me with an answer of No. 1," Muhl said in a WNBA video posted to social media. "When I asked her why No. 1, she basically said 'This is a new beginning, but you’re not starting from scratch.' I loved that whole analogy and story, so Sue actually picked it and I love it."

WNBA Confirms Toronto Expansion Team for 2026

Fans at a game between the Chicago Sky and the Minnesota Lynx in Toronto
Canadian fans asked and the WNBA delivered: Toronto's getting a team. (Jordan Jones/NBAE via Getty Images)

The WNBA is officially expanding to Toronto, with the league announcing its 14th franchise early Thursday. 

Kilmer Sports Ventures has been awarded the team, said WNBA commissioner Cathy Englebert at a press conference attended by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, and others. 

"Growing internationally, I’ve been trying to think through next steps on a global platform," Engelbert told the Associated Press ahead of the official announcement. "It helps us reach new audiences and bring in new partners. The thing I love about going to another country is that the young girls and boys get to see professional basketball for women is important, too."

The CBC was the first to report on the expansion franchise back on May 10th. 

With the Golden State Valkyries set to begin play next year, the Toronto franchise will begin play in 2026. The goal, per the WNBA, is to then add two more franchises by 2028 for a total of 16. 

Toronto will play at Coca-Cola Coliseum, which holds 8,700 seats. On occasion, the team will play games in Scotiabank Arena. The WNBA has previously hosted sold-out preseason games at Scotiabank Arena and Edmonton’s Rogers Place. There are also plans to play games in Vancouver and Montreal, according to majority owner Larry Tanenbaum. 

This will be the first WNBA franchise outside of the United States, and joins PWHL Toronto as just the second professional women’s sports team in the city.

"Our Toronto sports franchises are thriving but, we have been missing one critical piece — women’s professional sports," Tanenbaum told the AP. "The world is finally taking notice of something that’s been there all along — the immense talent, passion and competition in women’s sports. 

"I saw an opportunity and knew we were in the right place at the right time to bring Canada’s first WNBA team to Toronto. And now we have, making sports history."

Similar to Golden State, the Toronto franchise paid a $50 million expansion fee. They’ve also committed to building a dedicated practice facility, but will train at the University of Toronto’s Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport in the meantime. 

"Women’s sports is good business," Tanenbaum said. "Just look around — it’s not a moment, but a movement and it’s just the beginning."

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