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ND Women’s Basketball: Peters out for season

Bill Brink | Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Freshman forward Devereaux Peters will miss the remainder of the season after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her left knee during No. 16 Notre Dame’s 81-66 win Sunday over then-No. 15 Pittsburgh, the women’s basketball program said in a press release Monday afternoon.

While under her own basket with the ball early in the second half, Peters collapsed, apparently untouched, and grabbed her knee, writhing in pain.

Team officials helped Peters off the floor and into the locker room. She didn’t put any weight on her left leg, and later returned with crutches and a full-length leg brace. Peters had an MRI Monday morning and team orthopedist Dr. Fred Ferlic confirmed the injury, the release said.

Irish coach Muffet McGraw said in the release she is confident that Peters will be healthy enough to play next season.

“We expect she will bounce back from this injury with the same determination and desire that she has already shown this season, and we’re looking forward to having her back and ready to go next season,” she said.

“I just cringed,” junior guard Lindsay Schrader, who missed all of last season after tearing her ACL, said Sunday of Peters’ injury.

Freshman forward Becca Bruszewski said she thought the play was a freak occurrence, not the result of any contact with another player.

“It just kind of looked like she went to cut back and just went down,” said Bruszewski, who was standing near Peters when she fell.

McGraw said losing Peters will change the team’s strategy at times.

“It changes a little bit of what we do. I think we’ll probably go smaller at times,” McGraw said Sunday. “And the way Becca’s playing, I’m very confident in her coming in and doing a lot of good things. It changes the press a little bit.”

Peters was the driving force behind Notre Dame’s full-court, man-to-man press, using her height and long arms to disrupt opposing offenses. McGraw said the press is becoming less effective for Notre Dame, however.

“At this point in the season, teams have figured out our press,” she said Sunday. “The half-court defense was really a lot better than our press tonight. We’ll be able to get a good game plan without her.”

McGraw looked at the injury as an opportunity for bench players to increase their roles.

“Part of the growing process in this game, and in life, is dealing with obstacles that are put in your path,” McGraw said in the release. “This presents an opportunity for some of our other players to step in and contribute down the stretch in the Big East conference season and I believe they will passionately embrace that challenge and take advantage of it.”

The likely candidates, McGraw said Sunday, are Bruszewski and senior center Melissa D’Amico.

“It’s a great opportunity for [Bruszewski] to move to the perimeter a little bit more,” McGraw said. “And it’s a great opportunity for [D’Amico], and [she] has been waiting for her opportunity patiently since the beginning of the year.”

D’Amico, who averaged 20.4 minutes per game and eight points per game last season, averages 9.4 minutes per game and 3.3 points per game this season. The 6-foot-5 center has only started 10 games this season after starting 29 of Notre Dame’s 32 games last season.

Bruszewski was optimistic about the prospect of increased playing time, and McGraw was confident in Bruszewski’s abilities to contribute.

“She gets a body on somebody and she does a good job of boxing out,” McGraw said Sunday. “[Panthers center Marcedes] Walker was hurting us early, we weren’t rebounding and I felt like she was the one that could come in and make a difference.”