When heading into unfamiliar territory, we sometimes think of worst-case scenarios. The University of Calgary women's basketball team didn't just think it, last weekend in Saskatchewan they lived it. The Dinos came back from the break looking to improve their national ranking with a trip to the prairies to take on the then second-ranked University of Regina. What the Calgary squad didn't envision were two hard-fought defeats and the loss of fifth-year point guard Linnae Bee to an injury.
The Dinos dropped the first contest 87-75 even though Leighann Doan scored 33 points. While the Dinos didn't play a strong game Friday night, the worse was yet to come. During the first half of the Saturday game Calgary was four points down. Whatever. No big deal. Doan and Co. have enough firepower to erase that deficit in a matter of seconds. But what the Dinos didn't count on was the second devastating knee injury in two years for point-guard Linnae Bee. A torn ACL is almost certain, though nothing is written in stone until the swelling goes down on the knee. The game ended with a 71-68 Regina win, but the big concern was Bee's well-being.
"I just knew," said Bee. "It hurt. I was pissed. I was sad, angry and in pain."
"They didn't call a foul on the play," added Head Coach Shawnee Harle.
Bee's loss will be tough for the Dinos. The fifth-year point guard was a vocal leader for the team and her presence on the court made her teammates better because of her superb offensive and defensive skills. Bee, however, is confident her teammates can go on to succeed without her.
"We're experienced, it's not gonna defeat our morale," smiled Bee. "Other people will step in. My role has changed a lot. It's just a different way to give to the team. I'll cheer a lot."
"It affected the way we played," said Harle of Bee's injury. "We were down four when it happened and were down 20 at the half. The team responded well though. We had a three for the tie at the buzzer but missed it. We're going to keep our focus and goals regardless of the setback. But there's no doubt we'll miss her."
Rookie Jennifer Elford will see her playing time increase in Bee's absence. Unfortunately for Bee, this injury could signal the end of her CIAU career. However, Harle and Bee are not ruling out a possible comeback before season's end.
"I'll put on a brace and play if I can," said Bee, who's no stranger to playing through injuries.
In her first season in Calgary she dislocated her shoulder and re-injured it constantly. Last year, Bee blew out her knee and needed surgery, which she was starting to fully recover from when lightning struck again.
Whether she plays again or not, Bee will be remembered fondly by fans in Calgary who saw her heart and determination week after week for the lady Dinos. Bee will cheer on her team this weekend when they host Simon Fraser University at 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday afternoon.