PITTSBURGH — Lance White and the Pitt Panthers have been dealt a far from ideal hand all season long. From COVID-19 related pauses and reschedulings, the team has had to adapt to the times all season long. A new obstruction, injuries, are now entering the mix as well.
Dayshanette Harris went down against Louisville last Thursday and did not suit up on Monday night against Notre Dame. The injury woes continued at the guard position when senior Gabbie Green went down in Monday’s loss to Notre Dame with less than a minute to play in the opening quarter. She did not return.
Harris is averaging 12.4 points per game, the second-highest average on the team behind only Jayla Everett. White explained that the injury was with Harris’ knee, but that he was not aware of the exact diagnosis. White’s current hope is that resting the knee for a week will allow Harris to heal.
“If not, then they’ll have to go in and repair some stuff,” said White. “We’re going to take every precaution because, again, with only two weeks left, I don’t want to risk anything with her.”
Green’s injury was said to be with her ankle, but does not appear to be as complex as Harris’ situation. White expressed how important it was to have Green back for the team’s next game on Thursday.
“We’ll hopefully have her back for NC State,” said White. “We’ll stretch that ligament a little bit, so we’ll see how she does with the day off and then, hopefully, get her back for a practice. We need her energy for that next game.”
Utilizing its bench players is nothing new for Pitt, who makes frequent substitutions to keep the lineup fresh. Monday’s affair showed how reliant the Panthers are on their entire team, with 10 of 11 players that got playing time registering over 10 minutes on the court. The only player that didn’t reach the 10 minute mark was the injured Gabbie Green.
Tracey Hueston was one Panther that got more playing time than anticipated, but mentioned that expecting the unexpected has almost become normal for the team this season.
“Pushing through adversity has been something that we really had to learn,” said Hueston. “Getting deep into the bench teaches us ‘hey, you never know what’s going to happen’, sometimes you have to push through and you are going to get thrown in and you are not going to expect it.”
Pitt’s team remained upbeat and loud during the game’s final moments. Hueston admitted that the loss and efforts of the team were upsetting, but brought up how the older players didn’t let the rough night distract them from giving the freshmen that stepped up credit for their contributions throughout the game.
“Our older teammates congratulated the freshmen for pushing through and having to play more minutes than we are used to.”
Pitt returns to action, hoping to be healthier, on Thursday against North Carolina State at 4 p.m.