The University of Maine’s hard-fought 78-66 America East women’s basketball quarterfinal victory over Vermont on Wednesday night came with a steep price.
Coach Amy Vachon was certainly pleased that her team advanced to the semifinals of the America East Tournament with a hard-fought 78-66 win over Vermont at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
Freshman guard Anna Kahelin suffered a knee injury with 22 seconds left in the game. She had to be helped off the court and couldn’t put any pressure on her right leg.
Kahelin, UMaine’s sixth man, and is the Black Bears’ tallest guard at 5-foot-11.
Vachon said after the game that the injury “doesn’t look good.”
Kahelin was on crutches after a visit Thursday morning to Downeast Orthopedics in Bangor. She is awaiting the results of a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test, but it appears unlikely that she will return to action this season.
Second seed UMaine, 17-14 and winner of nine in a row, hosts No. 3 UMass Lowell (16-14) in Sunday’s 1 p.m. semifinal at Memorial Gym in Orono. The Professional Bull Riders tour is occupying the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor this weekend, which prompted the change of venue.
Vermont’s Delaney Richason was driving to the basket and Kahelin shifted to her right to shut off the baseline on Wednesday when the two collided and went down. Richason was assessed a player-control foul.
“Anna has been great. She’s tough. She will [eventually] come back,” Vachon said. “Our team will again regroup. We’ve been there, we’ve done that. We’ve been through more this year than any team should.”
Kahelin, from Helsinki, Finland, has played 24.9 minutes per game, averaging 3.3 points and 2.5 rebounds. She is a top-notch defender who uses her athleticism and long arms to bother opposing shooters.
“We’ll be all right. She’ll be all right. We’ll take care of her,” Vachon said. “We’re going to go out and do our best for all of them in street clothes.”
Kahelin’s loss leaves UMaine with four healthy guards in fifth-year senior Maddy McVicar, juniors Dor Saar and Kelly Fogarty and freshman Anne Simon.
Kahelin becomes the fifth Black Bear this season to be sidelined by a knee injury. Junior forward Fanny Wadling has missed the entire season with a concussion, but will be a medical redshirt and return next season.
Senior Blanca Millan, the 2019 America East Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, went down in the sixth game with a ligament tear. Senior forward Alex Bolozova never played this season because of a knee ailment and Sierra Tapley, who had a previous surgery, and freshman forward Abbe Laurence haven’t played since Dec. 21.
“It stinks. It really stinks. But that’s the way our season has been,” said Vachon, whose team is down to eight available players.
Junior forward Kira Barra and graduate transfer forward Gaddy Lefft, are dealing with knee and Achilles tendon issues, respectively, that limit their playing time.