The University of Maine women’s basketball team went into Friday night’s game against Green Bay with only nine healthy players.
The latest injury victim is fifth-year senior guard Maddy McVicar of Calais, who suffered a knee injury Dec. 7 in the 69-40 loss to Harvard.
She also missed Tuesday’s 57-41 loss at Dartmouth.
McVicar has been fitted for a knee brace and was able to take the court and shoot at Thursday’s practice.
She is averaging 6.8 points and 3.6 rebounds in 27.6 minutes per game. Despite being just 5-foot-4, McVicar is the team’s third-leading rebounder.
Head coach Amy Vachon said she doesn’t know the timetable for McVicar’s potential return.
Of the eight players who played at least 10 minutes a game last season, UMaine is down to two — junior point guard Dor Saar (35.1) and junior forward Maeve Carroll (18.7). McVicar averaged 13.5 minutes last season.
Freshman guards Anne Simon and Anna Kahelin are averaging 28.5 and 26.7 minutes per game, respectively.
UMaine already has lost senior guard and America East Player and Defensive Player of the Year Blanca Millan and reserve forward Alex Bolozova for the season with knee injuries. Millan’s 18.2 points per game and 2.7 steals led the team and she was tied for the team lead in rebounds (6.3).
The 6-foot-2 Bolozova, a transfer from Murray State College, didn’t appear in a game this season after averaging 3.2 minutes in 10 appearances last season.
Senior forward Fanny Wadling, the America East rebound leader a year ago, still has not played after suffering a concussion in an exhibition game. She missed 10 games last season with a concussion.
University of Delaware transfer Gaddy Lefft, a 6-foot graduate student forward, hasn’t played yet due to a lower body injury.
“Gaddy is close [to returning],” Vachon said. “I don’t know about Fanny or Maddy.”
Under NCAA rules, Millan can apply for a medical redshirt and return to play her final season next year. Wadling would have the same option if she doesn’t play this year after the season reaches the halfway point.
UMaine’s inexperience has been evident of late with the veteran players sidelined.
“We have a lot of kids who haven’t played much. They need game experience,” Vachon said.
The players realize it’s a process to work through the new personnel groupings and playing roles.
“It’s hard,” Carroll admitted. “We all have to step up. Right now, we have to figure out what works best for the group we have. We’re still getting used to everything.”
The 5-foot-11 Carroll was averaging 7.4 points and 6.3 rebounds in 28.8 minutes per contest going into the Green Bay game. She often defends much taller players in the post.
UMaine had been outrebounded by 10.8 per game.
“We’ve lost a lot of players with injuries. But that’s life,” Saar said. “I think we have some real good players, and I really believe we can grow, get better every day and be in good shape for conference [games].
“It’s easy to be negative, but that doesn’t lead us anywhere. We have to stay focused. This is a good opportunity for us to learn about ourselves and become a better team,” Saar said.
The two-time defending America East champions start America East play Jan. 2 with a home game against Hartford.
Saar, a three-year starter, acknowledged that she is feeling some pressure to pick up some of the slack on offense. She is averaging 9.1 points but is shooting only 27.7 percent from the floor and 27.2 percent from the 3-point arc.
“I’m a little bit frustrated because I worked really hard this summer [on my shooting],” Saar said.
“I keep taking a lot of repetitions [in practice]. I have to calm myself down and try to get better shots,” she said. “I believe they’ll start going in.”