Colonels fighting with starters hurt

December 16, 2014
Juniors Galore: Tarpons finding success without any seniors
December 16, 2014
December 16, 2014
Juniors Galore: Tarpons finding success without any seniors
December 16, 2014

The Nicholls State University women’s basketball team is asking Santa for just one thing this Christmas season – renewed health for two of its best players.

The Colonels rode into the 2014-15 season with high aspirations and a clear goal to win the Southland Conference.

But with injuries to senior guard LiAnn McCarthy and more recently junior guard Emani White, Colonels coach DoBee Plaisance said the team is licking its wounds and hitting the reset button before the start of the Southland Conference season.

The Colonels entered the week with a 3-3 record, including Saturday afternoon’s home win against South Alabama.

“God bless LiAnn and Emani for all that they do, all the sacrifices they’ve made for us and all that they’re having to go through right now,” Plaisance said on Saturday morning before taking the floor against South Alabama. “It’s a hard time, and we’re thinking about them and praying for them, but as a basketball team, we still like what we have and we’re confident in the young ladies that we’re taking the floor with in each game.

“Injuries are tough, but it’s a challenge to everyone else because

for this thing to keep going, someone is going to have to step up.”

For the Colonels, McCarthy’s loss means Nicholls is without its most experienced senior leader for a second-straight season.

A senior from New Orleans, McCarthy redshirted last year after tearing her ACL during the back-end of her junior year in 2012-13. During that junior season, McCarthy started 24 games and established herself as a big-time threat for Nicholls, averaging 8.6 points per game.

McCarthy did her necessary rehabilitation and was slated to return this year – her fifth season with the team. But right before the season got underway, she reinjured her problematic knee again. The diagnosis wasn’t good, and she’ll again be out for the season.

Plaisance said McCarthy will petition to the NCAA to try and get a sixth season of eligibility, which would allow her to compete again next season.

“Your heart breaks for her,” Plaisance said. “She works hard, and she’s a good kid. I know it hurts her to not be out there. On the floor, we miss her. She’s a leader. She’s a big part of what we do and what we try and teach our young ladies to be.”

The loss of McCarthy was expected – Plaisance and the Colonels have had time to prepare for that blow.

But losing White has been much more unexpected.

The Colonels’ dominant junior guard has missed the past two games after suffering an undisclosed injury in the past week.

Plaisance wouldn’t specify exactly what was wrong with White when asked on Saturday afternoon, but she did confirm that fans shouldn’t expect to see the guard for a while.

She missed last Wednesday night’s loss against Tulane and Saturday’s game with South Alabama. Without her in the lineup, the Colonels are missing a guard that averages 15.3 points per game. As a sophomore, White was a terror to opponents, averaging 19.6 points per game, while shooting 68-of-188 from behind the 3-point line.

“Emani White is going to be on the shelf for a while,” Plaisance said before the South Alabama game. “I think that’s the best way we can explain it right now – to make a long story short, she’s going to be sitting down for a while.”

The Colonels found out White would be out one day before playing Tulane, which game the team little time to prepare for the Green Wave. The Colonels were shell shocked, falling 77-44 to the Wave.

Against South Alabama, the Colonels knew going in that White wouldn’t be available, and the team played better.

“It’s hard when you don’t know that it’s coming,” Plaisance said. “But as more time passes, more players will be able to step up and fill into their new roles. It’s hard. We obviously want Emani and LiAnn out there with us. But we don’t have any choice, but to adapt. We have to play with who’s available to play, and everyone we have is here for a reason – we believe in everyone and think we still have a depth to our team that can make things happen.”

That depth is something the Colonels didn’t always have.

In White and McCarthy’s absence, the scoring onus will now fall on players like senior guard Jenny Nash and Veronia Ryan, Marina Lilly and Hope Pawlowski.

Plaisance said she thinks those ladies can get the job done but added that there’s nothing like being at full strength.

But the fact that the team can compete while licking its wounds is a testament to how far the program has come.

Plaisance said she credits her assistant coach Justin Payne for his recruiting to get the job done. She likened the process to basketball terms.

“He’s like the point guard. It’s his job to get the ball across half court,” Plaisance said. “What I mean by that is it’s his job to do the legwork, go see the players, get our name out there and put us in the running for them. From there, it’s my job to be the post player. It’s my job to get the ball and go get the And-1 to lose the deal.

“We’re a little beat up, and we wish we wouldn’t be, but we’re still blessed to be in a pretty good position.”

‘God bless LiAnn and Emani for all that they do, all the sacrifices they’ve made for us.’

DoBee Plaisance

Nicholls State University women’s basketball coach

Colonels fighting with starters hurt

Nicholls State University senior guard Jenny Nash look through the defense during a game last season. With junior guard Emanl White out Indefinitely and senior guard LIAnn McCarthy rehabblng a torn ACL Injury, the Colonels are relying on Nash and some of the team’s other veterans to make a push this season.