SOUTH BEND — Notre Dame was holding its collective women’s basketball breath Wednesday after junior center Mikayla Vaughn was injured during the third quarter of Tuesday night’s season-opening 60-55 victory at Fordham.
Vaughn was scheduled to undergo an MRI on her right knee Wednesday evening, with results not expected back until Thursday at the earliest, school spokesperson Josh Bates said Wednesday afternoon.
The No. 16-ranked Irish play their home opener at 6:30 p.m. Friday against Loyola of Maryland.
Vaughn went to the ground at Fordham after she awkwardly planted her right foot at about 5:50 to go in the third quarter with Notre Dame leading 39-29.
After being tended to on the court during the next dead ball, at the 5:40 mark, she came out, walking to the far bench primarily under her own power.
Vaughn re-entered the game at the 3:30 mark of the period, but left for good just 45 seconds later.
The Philadelphia native underwent season-ending surgery after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee during practice on Nov. 28, 2017.
Vaughn had burst onto the Irish scene as a freshman, averaging 8.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks while shooting 62 percent from the field in 13.2 minutes per game over ND’s first six contests.
She returned last season to average 3.3 points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.6 blocks with 52 percent shooting over 9.6 minutes per game.
In Tuesday’s opener, Vaughn finished at eight points, nine rebounds and a career-high four assists in 20 minutes, going 3-of-6 from the field and 2-of-3 at the line.
She’d spoken just a day earlier about how well her left knee was doing.
“I do feel a hundred percent pain-free,” said Vaughn, who wore a cumbersome brace on her left knee much of last season, but has not done so this season.
Vaughn, who appeared more mobile and quicker in workouts and in Tuesday’s opener than she did last season, acknowledged that she experienced residual pain in her knee throughout the 2018-19 season.
“Now I just feel less pain and more confident in doing things I knew I could do before,” Vaughn said Monday.
With sophomore guard Abby Prohaska announcing Monday that she’s out indefinitely due to blood clots in her lungs, Notre Dame is down to just eight scholarship players.
Coach Muffet McGraw said a “best-case” scenario for Prohaska’s return is January.
If Vaughn misses time, that leaves the Irish at seven scholarship players.
Those seven are senior and former walk-on Katie Cole, graduate transfers Marta Sniezek and Destinee Walker, sophomores Katlyn Gilbert and Danielle Cosgrove, and freshmen Sam Brunelle and Anaya Peoples.
Cole, Sniezek, Walker and Gilbert each missed all or most of last season with injuries.