ND evaluating Brunelle injury

Anthony Anderson I Tribune Correspondent
ND Insider

SOUTH BEND

Prized Notre Dame freshman Sam Brunelle was “getting checked” Monday after being injured during Sunday’s women’s basketball loss at Connecticut, but an update on her status was not expected to be available until at least Tuesday, a team spokesperson said.

Brunelle’s injury was to her right knee, according to Josh Bates, Associate Athletics Communications Director — Women’s Basketball, on Monday.

Brunelle came out of ND’s 81-57 road loss to the No. 4-ranked Huskies just 27 seconds into the second half and never returned.

Though she was not involved in any contact of note or even a trip up the court in those first 27 seconds, based on ESPN’s TV coverage of the game, Brunelle was limping noticeably over most of that time before being removed during a dead ball with the Irish trailing 52-25.

She was tended to at the far end of the bench for several minutes, but later shifted to a more central spot and remained with her team throughout the rest of the game.

Brunelle played all of the first half except for 1:15 at the end of the opening quarter.

She finished with a career-low four points on 2-of-10 shooting from the field to go with six rebounds and two assists.

Brunelle entered the day as Notre Dame’s No. 2 scorer (13.9 per game) on the season and No. 2 active rebounder (6.6). She was also first in blocks (1.3) and second in minutes (33.9).

The 6-foot-2 forward from Ruckersville, Va., arrived at ND as the nation’s No. 5-ranked recruit in the class of 2019 by Prospects Nation and No. 6 by ESPN.

Even with Brunelle, the Irish have been down to just seven healthy scholarship players virtually all season.

Junior center Mikayla Vaughn has remained sidelined since suffering a sprained knee in the team’s 60-55 season-opening win Nov. 5 at Fordham, while sophomore guard Abby Prohaska revealed just before the season that she’d been diagnosed with a blood clot in each of her lungs.

Prohaska’s not expected back until at least January, while coach Muffet McGraw has mentioned the team’s Atlantic Coast Conference opener Dec. 29 against Clemson as a possible target date for Vaughn’s return.

Notre Dame (5-6) hosts No. 16 DePaul (7-1) on Wednesday. The Irish, who have dropped four of their last five, will be trying to avoid their first three-game losing streak since February-March 2007.

Notre Dame’s Sam Brunelle (33) works against Toledo’s Tanaya Beacham (23) during the Nov. 20 game at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend.