Sophomore forward done for the year after tearing ACL against Wyoming
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Just when things looked like they couldn’t get any worse for the 6-13 Lady Rebels, news broke on Thursday that made the team’s immediate future even more bleak: UNLV’s leading rebounder and second leading scorer is done for the year.
MRI results confirmed that sophomore forward Alana Cesarz suffered an ACL and meniscus tears in her left knee that will require surgery in the near future.
Cesarz suffered the injury in the first half of Wednesday’s 76-54 loss to Wyoming.
Losing a notable player to a season-ending injury is not a first for the Lady Rebels.
On Nov. 7, 2012 it was announced that senior point guard Mia Bell would redshirt the 2012-13 season to ensure full recovery from a microfracture in her knee and surgery done over the summer that included meniscus removal.
Cesarz was averaging 15.6 points per game and 7.1 rebounds per game this season, providing a reliable threat for UNLV on both offense and defense.
Cesarz either led or tied for the team lead in rebounds in 11 of the Lady Rebels’ games this season.
In addition to her dominating presence in the post, Cesarz led the team in free throw shooting with an incredible .843 mark.
She also leads the team in minutes played, tallying 699 minutes in 19 games this year.
Cesarz and senior Kelli Thompson have been the team’s 1A and 1B scoring options this year, as Cesarz leads the team with 105 field goals made, while Thompson follows close behind with 103 shots made.
With Bell and Cesarz sidelined, Thompson will be relied on even further to carry the scoring load and pace a squad that has looked overwhelmed at times this year.
Thompson (17.4 points per game) leads the team in points per game and trailed only Cesarz for the team lead in rebounds with 6.5 per game.
With a 10.4 scoring average, Danielle Miller will likely see a boost in offensive production as well.
The sophomore guard was the only other player besides Thompson and Cesarz to average more than 4.4 points per game.
Cesarz was making a strong bid for all-conference honors, as she ranked fourth in the Mountain West Conference in scoring.
Her rebounding average was good for sixth-best in the conference.
She currently leads the conference in both free throw percentage and minutes played.
Though Thompson, averaging 0.7 minutes per game less than Cesarz, will likely eclipse the average as the season continues.
Cesarz led the team with four double-doubles this season.
The Lady Rebels will head to Reno to take on the Wolf Pack Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.