ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine women’s basketball team will play the remainder of the season without one of its promising freshmen.
Anna Heise, who had missed a month with a sprained left ankle, broke the same ankle last week. She will be in a cast for approximately six weeks.
Maine head coach Richard Barron explained that Heise was walking off the court at Memorial Gym after practice last week when she experienced intense pain and realized she had done something else to the ankle.
“She realized it walking off the court,” Barron said. “Whether she did it playing and the pain didn’t set in until then, I don’t know.”
The 6-foot-3 center from Germany averaged 5.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and almost 19 minutes per game. Heise was among the team’s best shooters, connecting at 42 percent from the field and 78 percent from the foul line.
Heise had appeared in only one game, for two minutes, since spraining her ankle in practice prior to the Christmas break.
“She came back from break and the first day in practice she re-aggravated it,” Barron said.
The loss of Heise further thins a UMaine frontcourt that already lost junior Ali Nalivaika to a preseason knee injury. It leaves sophomore Danielle Walczak, senior Corinne Wellington and freshmen Mikaela Gustafsson and Chantel Charles (a guard) to handle play in the post.
However, Barron said Walczak has been slowed by a nagging foot injury that has limited her ability to practice often and effectively.
Barbara and Bill Dalton will be the hosts Saturday for a UMaine women’s basketball fundraiser event, An Evening with the Maine Women’s Basketball Team.
The program will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Daltons’ home on 21 Black Bear Drive in Veazie.
UMaine players, coaches and staff will be on hand to socialize with fans and other members of the Black Bear community, who can enjoy hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer. The cost is $50.
Anyone interested in attending should contact Samantha Wheeler by email at Samantha.Wheeler@umit.maine.edu or at 581-1075.
On a snowy night two weeks ago, Barron had his players take a break from their pregame routine to go into the stands at Alfond Arena and personally thank fans for turning out.
UMaine appears to be turning the practice into part of its routine. The Black Bears have repeated the gesture at two subsequent home games.
“People say they like it,” Barron said. “It was just kind of an impromptu thing for a snowy day. We just wanted to thank them.”
In fact, after Saturday’s victory over Stony Brook that snapped UMaine’s 15-game skid, the players again shook hands with fans as the pep band played “The Stein Song.”
On Wednesday, coach will continue his series of Time Out Luncheons.
He will sit down with fans for lunch and a discussion of this year’s team, including recent and upcoming games. Black Bear fans will be able to ask questions they might have about the team.
The luncheon costs $15 and runs from noon until 1:15 p.m. at Seasons Grille and Lounge, 427 Main St., Bangor. For information, contact Wheeler at 581-1075.