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NCAA basketball injuries: Texas’ Rori Harmon out for the season

Rori Harmon drives past Courtney Blakely on December 13, 2023 at McKale Center in Tucson, AZ. (Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Rori Harmon drives past Courtney Blakely on December 13, 2023 at McKale Center in Tucson, AZ. (Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

No. 5 Texas’ Rori Harmon is out for the remainder of the season with an ACL tear, per a release from Texas Athletics. 

Harmon tore her ACL in practice on Dec. 27 and she did not play in that evening’s contest against Jackson State. 

The junior guard was named Big 12 preseason player of the year and she averaged 14.1 points and 7.8 assists per game in her 12 games played. 

“I’m grateful for the support of my teammates and coaching staff during this difficult time,” Harmon said in the press release. “I also want to thank our medical staff at Texas for taking care of me. I’m heartbroken that I won’t be able to play with my teammates this season, but I’m going to support them and be the best teammate I can be.”

Just Women’s Sports is tracking injuries to key players throughout the NCAA season and, when possible, outlining the timetables for their returns.

Out for the season

Azzi Fudd, UConn

Fudd is out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL and a torn meniscus in her right knee. She played just two games before injuring her knee in practice. Fudd is the second Huskies player in two years to miss the majority of the season with an ACL tear, following Paige Bueckers’ lost season in 2022-23.

Sa’Myah Smith, LSU

Smith will miss the rest of the season for No. 7 LSU with tears to the ACL, MCL and meniscus in her right knee. Smith, who appeared in just seven games this season, will be given a redshirt for the remainder of this season and will be able to get this year of eligibility back, per LSU Athletics.

Destinee Wells, Tennessee 

Tennessee senior point guard Destinee Wells is out for the rest of the season with a lower right leg injury, the program announced Tuesday.

A transfer from Belmont, Wells was seen with a brace on her right leg during the team’s win over Wofford. The news of her season-ending injury came on the same night senior forward Rickea Jackson returned from injury. Wells played in just 10 games this season.

Head coach Kelli Harper, who dealt with ACL tears twice in her playing career at Tennessee, understands well the pain of season-ending injuries. So she knows it will “be hard throughout the year” for Wells, who had averaged 6.8 points, 3.5 assists and 2.3 rebounds in 22.4 minutes per game.

Gianna Kneepkens, Utah

The star guard will miss the rest of the season after breaking multiple bones in her foot, the school announced on Dec. 4. An All-Pac-12 player and the team’s second-leading scorer, Kneepkens was injured late against BYU on Dec. 2 and had to be helped off the floor.

Utah head coach Lynne Roberts called Kneepkens’ injury a “blow to our program,” which is ranked No. 11 in the country at 7-1 as of Dec. 14.

“If there is a kid that eats, sleeps and breathes basketball, it is her. But this is part of life. Life can stink sometimes. This is going to be a process for her that she is going to have to push through,” Roberts said. “She has got a group of teammates and coaches who love her. She will be all right. It is still a little raw. The fact that the season is over for her, she is still working through that.”

Ayanna Patterson, UConn

UConn lost one more player for the season, as Ayanna Patterson was announced to miss the remainder of the season following knee surgery.

Patterson had not appeared in a game this season for the Huskies. Last season, she played 30 games, averaging just over two points and two rebounds. Head coach Geno Auriemma said the surgery was to address patellar tendinitis that Patterson has dealt with since high school.

Emily Bessoir, UCLA 

No. 2 UCLA’s Emily Bessoir is out for the remainder of the season with an ACL injury. The senior injured the same ACL that sidelined her for the entirety of the 2021-2022 season while she was playing in the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2025 qualifiers for her native Germany.

While Bessoir has played in just one game for the Bruins this season due to her international duties, she appeared in all 37 games last season and she was selected to the Pac-12 All-Tournament team.

“I’m just heartbroken for Emily, for her and for us,” head coach Cori Close told the Associated Press. “She’s been such a steady leader for us and she had so many things going for her this year. I look forward to seeing how this is going to be part of her conquering story.”

Out with injury but expected to return

Olivia Miles, Notre Dame

Miles injured her knee in the Irish’s 2023 regular season finale. She was sidelined during the ACC Tournament and has remained so into this season. Notre Dame head coach Niele Ivey provided a look into Miles’ recovery via Instagram, where she posted a video of Miles shooting around, though there remains no timetable for her return to action.

“She’s doing a lot of great workouts, and so just wanted to kind of just highlight her because she is she’s doing really, really well,” Ivey said to ABC 57. “She’s in great spirits, her knee looks really good.”

Caroline Ducharme, UConn

The junior guard played in No. 17 UConn’s first four games this season but she has been out since Nov. 19 with neck and back spasms. Ducharme has dealt with concussion issues in past seasons. On Dec. 1, head coach Geno Auriemma could not provide a timeline for her return to the team.

“Don’t ask me how long, because I wish I knew,” Auriemma told ESPN. “You don’t know when they’re coming and you don’t know how long they’re going to last. We just keep trying and trying and trying. . . I feel terrible for the kid.”

Sonia Citron, Notre Dame

Citron sustained an injury to her leg in the third quarter of the Irish’s game against Northwestern on Nov. 15. The junior guard needed help to return to the locker room after she was injured.

Notre Dame head coach Niele Ivey had announced that Citron was dealing with a sprained knee and would be out for just a couple of weeks. But on Nov. 28, Ivey said Citron would need a few more weeks of recovery before she could return to the court.

Returned to the court

Rickea Jackson, Tennessee

Jackson, who had been out of Tennessee’s lineup since Nov. 13 with a lower leg injury, returned to the court on Dec. 19.

“She steps on the court and she changes things,” Tennessee head coach Kellie Harper told the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “Her presence affects them when they step on the court. She gives them great confidence.”

Caitlin Clark dunks on Michael Che in surprise SNL appearance

(Julia Hansen/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK)

Caitlin Clark made a surprise appearance on “Saturday Night Live” over the weekend, which quickly went viral.

The Iowa star showed up on the show’s Weekend Update segment to playfully call out Michael Che’s history of making jabs at women’s sports.

It started when Che joked that Iowa should replace Clark’s retired No. 22 “with an apron.” 

When Clark entered, Che said that he was a fan. But Clark wasn’t convinced – especially not when co-host Colin Jost brought the receipts of Che’s jabs.

“Really, Michael? Because I heard that little apron joke you did,” she said, before making him read some jokes of her own in retaliation. Clark finished her segment by shouting out the WNBA greats that came before her. She then got in one final dig – bringing Che a signed apron as a souvenir. 

When Che promised to give it to his girlfriend, Clark delivered her last playful dig of the night.

“You don’t have a girlfriend, Michael,” she said.

Afterward, SNL castmember Bowen Yang told People that the 22-year-old and teammates Gabbie Marshall, Kate Martin and Jada Gyamfi – who joined her at Studio 8H – “were so cool.”

“She's so charming and witty,” Yang said. “They were just the most stunning, noble people.

“Athletes just have this air about them. They know they're amazing. I mean, these are people who have numeric attachments and values to their performance. That's something that comedians never have.”

Portland Thorns, in uncharted territory, start NWSL season winless

Portland has started the season winless through four games for the first time. (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)

The Portland Thorns continue to struggle to start the NWSL season, falling 2-0 to the North Carolina Courage over the weekend to remain winless through their first four games. 

It’s uncharted territory for Portland, who has never started the NWSL regular season without a win in four games before.

Following the loss, defender Becky Sauerbrunn voiced her frustrations with the start. 

“It’s hard to find a lot of encouraging things, but what I find encouraging is that people are frustrated,” she said. “People are pissed off that we’re not doing well. We care, and I think that’s really important.” 

She also added that while the team will reflect individually, “there’s going to be no finger pointing.”

“We’re going to look at ourselves and figure out what we should have done, or I should have done better,” she said. “There is a list of things that I could have done better, and I’m going to make sure I know every single thing and watch this game back.”

The Thorns currently sit at the bottom of the league table with just one point, having allowed 10 goals – tied for the worst in the league. They’ve yet to lead in a match. And as questions grow, attention turns to head coach Mike Norris. 

Norris is in his second year as head coach of the club after leading the team to a second-place finish in the regular season last year. When asked about the possibility of pressure growing after the unprecedented start, Norris said that the pressure has been there “from day one.”

“I cannot be driven by my day-to-day and the longer vision of the pressure of the job,” he said. “We’ve got a belief in how we want to play, how we operate. We’ve got to stick with the process of that. While we do it, we have to review and see what is working, what’s not working.

“I’ll be showing up for the team and being there for what they need from me as we approach getting back together as a group next week.”

Maria Sanchez reportedly requests trade from Houston Dash

Mar 23, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Dash forward Maria Sanchez (7) warms up before the match between Racing Louisville and Houston Dash at Shell Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Maria Sanchez, who signed one of the biggest deals in NWSL history just four months ago, has reportedly requested a trade from the Houston Dash. 

ESPN was the first to report the news, which was confirmed by multiple sources.

In a statement to ESPN, the team said: “​​Maria Sanchez is under contract, a choice she made in free agency at the end of 2023." 

In December, Sanchez signed a new three-year contract with the Dash worth $1.5 million including bonuses and an option year. At the time, it was the largest contract in NWSL history – something that was eclipsed by multiple contracts in the following months. 

The winger was a restricted free agent in the offseason, meaning that Houston could match any offer from another team and retain her rights. Should the team trade Sanchez, her contract would remain as it has been signed with the league. That limits the number of teams that could take on her contract. 

In three starts with the Dash this season, Sanchez has zero goals and an assist. The Dash are 1-2-1 through four games and have allowed a league-worst 10 goals.

The team hired a new coach, Fran Alonso, in December. Earlier this year, former goalkeeper coach Matt Lampson was fired for violating the league’s Coach Code of Conduct and Anti-Fraternization policy. 

Both the NWSL trade window and transfer window close at midnight ET on Friday.

Canada beats U.S. Hockey 6-5 in thrilling World Championship win

UTICA, NEW YORK - APRIL 14: Team Canada raises the Championship Trophy after winning The Gold by defeating The United States in OT during the 2024 IIHF Women's World Championship Gold Medal game at Adirondack Bank Center on April 14, 2024 in Utica, New York. (Photo by Troy Parla/Getty Images)

Canada got its revenge on Sunday, winning the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championship and taking down the U.S. in a 6-5 overtime classic.

Marie-Philip Poulin, a longtime star for Canada, got her first two goals of the tournament, while Danielle Serdachny had the game-winner. 

"I hate to say you're not trying to rely on it, expect it, but I know I've grown to expect it," Canada coach Troy Ryan said of Philip-Poulin. "Tonight was just a whole other level. I could see in her eyes every time we called her name that she was ready to go. It's just special."

The win came after Canada lost 1-0 to the U.S. in the group stage of the tournament. On Sunday, the two teams met for the 22nd time in 23 tournaments in the gold medal game – and the action between the two teams delivered. 

Among those scoring for the U.S. were Megan Keller, Alex Carpenter, Hilary Knight, Laila Edwards and Caroline Harvey. Julia Gosling, Emily Clark and Erin Ambrose had the other three goals for Canada, giving them their 13th World title after falling to the U.S. in last year’s title game in Toronto. 

This year’s game was held in New York, and it was the second-highest scoring final between the two teams. The U.S. won a world championship 7-5 in 2015. 

"Oh man, that feels good to win it on U.S. soil," Canada goalie Ann-Renee Desbiens said after the game. "We owed it to them and owed it to ourselves to win that one."

Canada also denied Knight a record 10th World Championship win, although she did become the most decorated player in women’s world championship history with 14 medals. After the game, Poulin gave Knight a hug on the ice. 

"We just said 'that was unbelievable,'" Poulin said.

U.S. coach John Wroblewski echoed the sentiment that it was an outstanding game after being asked about ending the game on a power-play after leaving too many players on the ice. 

"Instead of talking about the isolated events of tonight's game, I think that normally that's an interesting storyline,” he said. “But I think the entity of an amazing 6-5 game is an amazing hockey game that took place."

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