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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Sports: Vishniakova awaits MRI

Elena Vishniakova will undergo magnetic resonance imaging Thursday to determine if an injury she sustained in Sunday’s game against St. Joseph’s is an Anterior Cruciate Ligament tear. If it is, the Colonial women would likely finish the season without a crucial starter.

“She was playing at the pinnacle of her career,” head coach Joe McKeown said. “This puts a lot of pressure on a lot of people.”

Vishniakova, who’s been averaged about 20 points in her past four games, was carried off the court after coming down hard with a rebound a little less than seven minutes into the second half.

“I don’t remember what happened,” she said. “I couldn’t think anything, the pain was so awful.”

Until results are determined, Vishniakova and head coach Joe McKeown can only wait and hope. Even a good prognosis could mean weeks of rehabilitation.

A torn ACL, an injury that forced Colonial guard Cathy Joens to miss every game last season, takes anywhere from weeks to years to fully heel.

Vishniakova describes her knee as swollen but not bruised. She is moving around and has been able to walk without crutches, she said. McKeown said she has been attending practice, getting treatment from the trainers and is in good spirits. But nothing is certain until Thursday, when the results come back from doctors.

“I want to hope for the best, but I am waiting for the worst,” Vishniakova said.

Head athletic trainer Chris Hennelly was out of town and unavailable for comment.

An absent Vishniakova leaves a considerable hole in the Colonials lineup. Her inside presence, combined with speed and ability to hit the mid-range jumper, has given the Colonials the edge in many close games. Vishniakova, who was named the A-10 Player of the Week Jan 22, is one of the main reasons why GW is undefeated in A-10. Vishniakova led GW’s comeback against Temple Friday with 16 of her 24 points in the second half.

Freshman Anna Montanana, who just earned two consecutive A-10 Rookie of the Week honors for her impressive performances against La Salle and Fordham, is a likely candidate to bear the brunt of Vishniakova’s absence.

“We’ll see Thursday (against Duquesne),” McKeown said, when asked if the freshman could handle increased playing time. “She’s mentally ready; it’s just about getting her physically ready now.”

Sophomore Valerie Williams and freshman Liz Dancause will have opportunities to step up with Vishniakova out, especially against quicker teams where Montanana might not be as effective. Williams, averaging 8.1 minutes a game, has played in 13 games but only started in one, averaging 3.2 points a game. Dancause, the USA Today New Hampshire Player of the Year who averaged 17 points, nine rebounds a game in high school, will now have an opportunity to make her mark.

McKeown also needs to move his current starters. Erica Lawrence, who has been having success as a guard/forward may be moved to the four position. Lawrence is a quick ball handler and sharp shooter, but does not carry the weight in the paint the Colonials are used to.

Center Ugo Oha, Joens and Lawrence will have to compensate for Vishniakova’s 20 points per game average. Oha also inherits more defensive responsibilities from Vishniakova, a quick defender who averaged 6.4 rebounds a game, with 10 blocks and 12 steals.

“I know the girls are disappointed, but they just have to keep playing,” Vishniakova said.

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