Irish still evaluating Brianna Turner injury

John Fineran
Tribune Correspondent

SOUTH BEND – In the case of Notre Dame women’s basketball player Brianna Turner, no news is still not any news - good or bad - concerning the availability of the 6-foot-3 freshman forward for Saturday’s showdown with No. 3 Connecticut at Purcell Pavilion.

“Actually we’re going to meet with the doctors just before practice,” said coach Muffet McGraw at a 2 p.m. news conference Thursday to answer that questions and others prior to practice.

Later Thursday evening, there was no news on what McGraw had learned from that meeting or if Turner would be available for the game with the 5-1 Huskies in the Jimmy V Women’s Classic game which will be nationally televised by ESPN at 3:15 p.m.

Turner, a highly-touted player who was the Gatorade Female High School Player of the Year and already twice named the Atlantic Coast Conference Freshman Player of the Week, suffered the injury to her right shoulder at 16:17 of the first half during Wednesday’s ACC/Big Ten Women’s Challenge game against No. 15 Maryland. Turner was taken immediately to the locker room and did not return to the bench.

A 92-72 victory over Maryland, The victory, the 60th straight regular-season triumph for the Irish, improved them to 8-0. The last loss suffered by Notre Dame came last season on April 8 at the hands of the Huskies, who prevailed in the NCAA Championship game of unbeaten, 79-58, in Nashville, Tenn.

Entering Wednesday’s game, Turner was averaging 15.3 points and 6.1 rebounds a game with a team-high 11 blocks and 12 steals. She had one assist and one turnover in the four minutes she played against Maryland.

“Brianna has really played well for us this year,” McGraw said. “We’re doing so many good things with her in the game.”

Without her, Notre Dame hardly skipped a beat against the Terrapins. Fellow frontcourt starter Taya Reimer picked up the scoring slack with a game-high 21 points, while reserves Kathryn Westbeld and Markisha Wright each scored nine points while totaling 13 rebounds, five assists, two blocked shots and two steals between them.

“It was good to see what we could do with (Turner) in the lineup,” McGraw said. “I don’t think we could have asked anything more from our post game last night.”

If Turner doesn’t play, the Irish coach said, Notre Dame has other lineup options with Westbeld or Wright possibly starting or reserve guard Madison Cable joining the lineup with fellow guards Jewell Loyd, Lindsay Allen and Michaela Mabrey for a four-guard look.

Notre Dame’s Brianna Turner, left, guards Harvard’s Temi Fagbenle during the Notre Dame-Harvard NCAA women's basketball game on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, at Notre Dame in South Bend. (SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)