STORY BY AUSTIN CANNON
The season won’t start for another two months, but the Drake Women’s Basketball team has already experienced a loss.
Sophomore center Becca Jonas will miss the 2015-16 season after undergoing surgery on her left knee, head coach Jennie Baranczyk announced Thursday.
Jonas started all 31 games as a freshman in 2014. She averaged 12.5 points and 9.1 rebounds.
Her rebounding ranked third in the Missouri Valley Conference and tops among freshmen, helping her earn MVC All-Freshman and All-MVC honorable mention honors.
Jonas said she’s been inactive since April with a stress fracture that was revealed by an MRI, a wear-and-tear injury.
“It was a more gradual thing,” she said.
When she underwent exploratory surgery a couple weeks ago, the doctors found a microfracture.
“They were just going in to see what was going on, and they weren’t really sure what they were going to find and they found the fracture,” Jonas said.
After discovering the fracture, the doctors repaired it. Jonas was told she will miss the upcoming season when she woke up after the surgery.
“It was definitely hard just knowing that I wasn’t going to be out there, but at the same time this year is still definitely going to be a good one for our team,” Jonas said.
Preseason practice will give Baranczyk time to fill the empty starting spot.
Freshmen forwards Sara Rhine and Madelyne Johnson will surely see added minutes as a result, as will 6-foot-3 senior Emma Donahue, who has averaged just 6.2 minutes per game over her first three years.
Regardless of who may step up to fill the role, an integral piece of 2014’s 20-11 team that reached the WNIT will take on more of a coaching role.
“(I’m) going to have to be more vocal on the sidelines and just really encouraging and just try to be there any way that I can for everyone during the season,” Jonas said. “That’s what I’ll be focusing on.”
This is the second season in a row that the Bulldogs have lost a key starter early on in the year.
Kyndal Clark, who led the NCAA in 3-point shooting percentage and Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year in 2014, injured her knee in the first game of the 2014-2015 season.
Clark remained part of the team for the rest of the year, although she didn’t suit up as a Bulldog again.