Blanca Millan has been a dominating two-way star for the University of Maine women’s basketball team.
On Saturday, the Black Bears learned that they’ll have to play the rest of the season without her.
Millan, the America East Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year last season, has been sidelined with an anterior cruciate ligament tear in her left knee.
The 6-foot-1 guard from Santiago de Compostela was injured during the second quarter of Friday night’s loss to Arizona State in the Gulf Coast Showcase at Estero, Florida.
“Black Bear Nation, unfortunately I have some bad news I need to share with everyone,” Millan said. “During our game this past Friday against Arizona State, I injured my knee and the diagnosis is an ACL tear. This means I will be out for the rest of the season, but this is not the end of the world. I will be back stronger than ever and know that I will be cheering on my teammates from the sidelines as loud as always.”
At the time of the injury, Millan again was UMaine’s leading scorer with 18.2 points per game. She also led the team in rebounds (6.3 per game), steals (14), free throws (33) and free-throw percentage (.846).
“This is obviously a tough loss for our team and a difficult situation for Blanca,” head coach Amy Vachon said. “Since Blanca arrived at UMaine, she has been a superstar in everything she has done: In the classroom, on the court, and in the community. I have no doubt Blanca will attack this and return to the court as good as, if not better, than she was before. As our team continues to battle on the court without her, Blanca will undoubtedly provide leadership to our young players from the sideline.”
Millan should be a candidate to apply for an NCAA Medical Hardship Waiver, which would provide her with a fifth and final season of eligibility. She meets the criteria because she has played in fewer than one-third of UMaine’s games this season and the season has not yet reached the halfway point.
If granted and Millan recovers completely from her injury, she should be able to play for the Black Bears next season.
Last season, Millan became only the third UMaine women’s basketball player to score her 1,000th career point in her third season. She is a two-time, America East first-team all-star and has twice been named to the league All-Defensive Team and the all-tournament team.
Millan was an America East All-Rookie pick in 2017.