Basketball faces key injury

By COLLEEN PEGHER
Sports Editor
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Restich earned the first triple-double for the Gators in over 12 years last week, but a knee injury will keep her out of action for at least six months. AJ CROFFORD/THE CAMPUS
The women’s basketball team fell to Denison on Saturday, struggling with turnovers and ultimately losing key player Erica Restich and their conference standing.

The Gators turned the ball over 29 times in Saturday’s matchup, falling to 9-5 on the season. The loss leaves the squad tied with Denison for second in the conference with Denison and Kenyon.

The team will have to finish the season without Restich, a player who last week earned the team’s first triple double in over 12 years with 18 rebounds, 14 points and 10 assists and was named NCAC player of the week.

“From my right side came a Denison player whom I beat off the dribbler and in her desperation to catch up to me, we came in contact, altering my body,” Restich said. “I think I was trying to pass the ball off and as she ran by hit my knee as I was planting my left leg. After that I felt a pop in my knee and a pain that you can’t really describe unless you have torn ligaments in your body yourself. As optimistic as you try to be, I knew the feeling and at that point realized what had happened almost instantly.”

Restich had surgery to repair a torn ACL on Wednesday morning in Pittsburgh. The injury has a long recovery time, possibly keeping Restich out into next season. She plans to return to class next Monday, but won’t be on the court for at least six months.

“I’m going to rehab with the mentality that I will be on the court next November but I think that decision of mine will have to be made down the line in the fall,” Restich said. “ I know I have more basketball left in me and have so much more to accomplish with this program but will have to see how my body feels come the fall.”

The loss of Restich accompanied a heartbreaking, overtime loss for the squad, who led going into the half 38-35, after holding the Big Red to 33.3 percent shooting.

In the second half, the Gators struggled with turnovers, allowing Denison to tie it up at 64 with 6:13 remaining in the half. Allegheny would regain control, leading by five with 24 seconds left. Denison’s Jane Windler would hit a jumper, and a missed free throw by Daryl Ford, ’13, would give the Big Red one more opportunity to tie the score.

With their two best shooters covered, Denison looked to Kinsey Bryant-Lees, who earned her only three points in the game with a shot from deep to send the game into overtime tied at 78.

“I really wasn’t thinking,” Bryant-Lees said. “I was just like hearing the clock countdown and like I just knew that I had to shoot it.”

The shot would give the Big Red momentum, allowing them to take the victory at a final score of 91-85. The loss of Restich would prove devastating for the Gators, who never really bounced back after that.

“Anytime a player goes down it’s going to be a hard for a team no matter how much they try to rally behind that,” Costanzo said. “It takes a lot out of you as a team. Every person on our team has an important role. To watch a friend go down like that, it’s hard to bounce back.”

Denison Head Coach Sara Lee believes momentum played a big role in her team’s ability to come out and excel in overtime. She also emphasized defense as her squad prepared to enter overtime.

“Well we got lucky to get in there because we made that big shot at the end so I think that we had the momentum and I just told them okay, now we need to really play a good defense,” Lee said. “Focus on the defense and the offense will come.”

The Gators will try to bounce back at Wooster on Wednesday night in the final away game.

“We still have ourselves near the top of the conference,” said Costanzo. “We need to go out to Wooster, refocus and get a big win on the road and then we need to get Kenyon here at home, which is going to be a tough one.”