UE’s women’s basketball team had two regular starters out of uniform for Sunday’s 71-65 win over Southern Illinois: senior forward Meagan Collins and freshman point guard Laura Friday.
Collins tore cartilage in her knee during the Aces’ Jan. 5 loss to Creighton, had her knee scoped and will miss anywhere from four to six weeks.
Friday suffered a concussion in practice last week. Her status is day-to-day.
With two key players out, “We kind of take that as meaning everybody else needs to step up,” said sophomore Khristian Hart, who scored a career-high 24 points against the Salukis. “We’ve got a couple people down, and we’ve got to play for them and execute.”
UE’s fourth-leading scorer with 8.5 points per game, Collins’ projected return comes near the end of the Aces’ season — her senior year.
“I expect her to be able to come back, but also as a coach I have to think, ‘What if she doesn’t come back?’” said coach Oties Epps. “So those are the terms I’m thinking on right now. She’s done, so how can our group of other kids step in and carry the load for us?”
The good news for the Boonville native Collins: Doctors saw limited swelling after her procedure.
“They’re optimistic they can get her back sooner,” Epps said
The Aces were operating essentially at full strength until Sunday’s game, now that junior Miranda Liles is back from a foot injury and sophomore Mallory Ladd is eligible following a transfer from Valparaiso.