STORRS -- Sophomore guard Brianna Banks had worked as hard any member of the UConn women's basketball team to mold herself into a reliable part of the rotation this season. The difference in her game from a year ago was dramatic as she was playing with confidence and regularly looking to make plays.
However, in another disturbing example of just how fragile sports can be, Banks saw all of her progress halted by one collision in Saturday's win at St. John's . She will miss the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee, the team announced Monday.
"I guess that saying that God works in strange ways is strange because you go from where she was last year to where she is this year and how much she's improved and how much she's worked to get her game to where it is and her mind to where it is,'' UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "And, obviously, you're disappointed for anybody that has to go through that. But it's a little more disappointing because you know how far she's come.''
Banks, who was not made available for comment Monday, sustained the injury while committing an offensive foul in the lane with 10:02 left in the first half. She had three points and one steal in the one minute, 22 seconds she was on the floor.
The severity of the injury was confirmed by an MRI that Banks underwent Sunday. Auriemma elected not to inform Banks of the results until Monday, allowing her to watch the Super Bowl with her teammates with a clear head.
"When it came back (Sunday) night it was pretty nauseating to be honest with you,'' Auriemma said.
Banks will undergo surgery in the coming weeks. She will be on the bench tonight when the third-ranked Huskies (20-1, 7-1 Big East) host Marquette at Gampel Pavilion (7; SNY).
Banks, who scored in double figures in seven games this season, was averaging 7.3 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 17.7 minutes through the first 21 games.
"It's devastating,'' UConn junior Stefanie Dolson said. "It's hard for someone like Bri, who's just stayed so positive all year, getting better in the off-season and preseason and really working on her game and wanting to be a part of this team and really helping us to win every game. It's hard to see it happen to someone who works as hard as she does. And just the timing, it's tough.''
Banks was involved in a collision with St. John's junior and Norwalk resident Briana Brown. Banks fell to the court and remained down for several minutes before being helped off by UConn athletic trainer Rosemary Ragle.
Banks becomes the seventh player this season to miss at least one game due to injury or illness for UConn. Kiah Stokes has missed six games due to a stress reaction in her right shin. Morgan Tuck has missed three games due to a bone bruise in her right knee. Bria Hartley and Breanna Stewart have each missed two games due to a sprained left ankle. And Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (concussion) and Dolson (illness) have missed one game apiece.
"It's not the typical year you want to have, obviously,'' UConn senior Kelly Faris said. "But it's one of those things that you can't really use that as an excuse. We're coached in a way, taught in a way that it doesn't matter. And it's unfortunate for certain people to be out for certain reasons, but we have to use what we have and work with it.''
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