Questions remain following Crank injury
Guard Monika Crank's season-ending knee injury has raised many questions around the women's basketball team.
One question is how the team would deal with the loss of one of its two returning seniors and fill the gap in the lineup, but the team is seeing some positive aspects in the wake of the injury.
"The team has pulled together," assistant coach Karen Caires said. "Everybody realizes the importance of how hard they have to work now."
Crank, whose nickname is "Bug," was a projected starter this season and was one of the top three-point shooters in UA history. She averaged 6.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game last year, and led the nation in three-point percentage at one point last season.
Crank tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee last week while setting up to take a jump shot in a pick-up game.
"Right now, we're going to miss her leadership," Caires said. "Bug is going to have to lead in a different way. It's a good thing that Monika has a strong character and is a strong individual. She'll definitely overcome this."
Assistant coach Sam Dixon said that Crank will still be part of the team.
"Monika won't be able to provide leadership on the court, but she will provide leadership on the bench and in the locker room," he said. "We're counting on her for her leadership, and she is very much a part of this team."
As for the rest of the team, Caires and the coaching staff are confident that players will step up. Players such as Reshea Bristol, Felecity Willis and the remaining guards will get more of an opportunity to play, and therefore will have to raise their game to a new level.
"They have to continue exactly what they're doing now: working hard and developing as players. The individual goals remain the same," Caires said.
Head coach Joan Bonvicini is currently on the road recruiting, but said that she hopes Monika will rehabilitate to 100 percent and return to play next season if she redshirts.
Crank will undergo surgery on the left knee Oct. 1.
"The main focus is the surgery, then recovery," Caires said. "The redshirt decision will come later."
On the flip side, junior Tatum Brown, a transfer from Central Arizona Junior College, is recovering from a knee injury she suffered last season.
"Tatum is doing outstanding with rehab," Caires said. "So for every negative, there's a positive. She's meeting and beating expectations, and I expect the same from Bug."
Bryan Rosenbaum can be reached via e-mail at Bryan.Rosenbaum@wildcat.arizona.edu.