Washington can’t seem to escape its injury jinx, Katie Collier becoming the latest to dampen a previously highly anticipated season for the Huskies. The incoming freshman suffered a torn ACL in her right knee during a summer workout and will be out for the 2012-13 season.
Collier, a 6-foot-3 forward, is expected to have surgery later in August once the swelling subsides.
“I feel terrible because of all she has gone through this past year,” UW coach Kevin McGuff said in a released statement. “But at the same time, if there’s anyone who can handle this it’s her. She’ll be incredibly diligent in her rehab after surgery and no doubt in my mind she’ll come back stronger and better than ever.”
A McDonald’s All-American, Collier had already recovered this year from acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), a type of blood/bone marrow cancer. She was diagnosed in September 2011, but was able to play minimal minutes for her Seattle Christian team by winter and made onlookers forget the cancer existed by the time she appeared in the March All-American game.
Collier tallied a record-tying five blocks in the nationally televised matchup. Energized, she began working out with fellow incoming freshman Heather Corral, a guard, late last spring, showing off some dunking skills via Instagram.
With fifth-year senior Kristi Kingam’s return from an ACL injury suffered during a European tour last August, UW appeared to be a formidable opponent with another solid inside-out game. Kingma, an explosive shooting guard, is the Huskies’ all-time leader in single-season three-point field goals with 79 during 2010-11.
McGuff, entering his second year, led the Huskies to a 20-14 finish last season. The program previously suffered four consecutive losing seasons.
Collier’s injury puts a crimp in the frontcourt for the Huskies, which opens play with an exhibition Oct. 30 against Concordia. Washington graduated anchors Regina Rogers, Mackenzie Argens and Mollie Williams.
F Talia Walton could be a valuable addition in the frontcourt, joining the fold after knee injuries last season. Returnees Aminah Williams and Jeneva Anderson, who had impressive finishes last season, also could boost Washington’s post lineup. Then there’s new signee Mathilde Gilling, a 6-3 native of Denmark. She piqued McGuff’s interest during his team’s European tour last summer.
Running the now youthful team will be sophomore PG Jazmine Davis, who was last season’s Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.
“(Mathilde) brings a lot of basketball savvy and athleticism to the frontcourt,” McGuff said. “I was impressed when we saw her last summer on our European tour and felt right away she’d be a positive fit in our system.”
*PHOTO CREDIT: F Katie Collier boxes out her opponent by ESPN’s Glenn Nelson.