Iowa State’s Junod out for season

Jeremy Gustafson

The ISU women’s basketball team suffered a blow this week when redshirt sophomore guard Erica Junod tore a major knee ligament – ending her season before it even really began.

Junod suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in practice Monday when she drove the lane and fell to the floor. The ACL is one of the four stabilizing ligaments of the knee. It prevents abnormal rotation of the lower leg.

“Erica was a very valuable part of what our plans were,” said ISU head coach Bill Fennelly. “We’re losing a really well-rounded player.”

This was going to be Junod’s first season as a starter for the No. 8 rated Cyclones. She played an integral role on the ISU women’s basketball team last season.

Junod averaged 20.3 minutes and six points per game, helping Iowa State to last year’s Big 12 Tournament championship and the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen.

“I don’t know what to expect,” Junod said of the injury, noting that she hadn’t injured an ACL before.

Junod will have surgery within two weeks after the swelling in her knee goes down.

“I’m going to work as hard as I can to get back as soon as possible,” Junod said, holding back tears.

Still, she will miss the entire season.

“It’s a six-month rehab,” Fennelly said. “She’s definitely done” for the season.

Junod redshirted during the 1999-2000 season, her initial year at Iowa State, so the chance of appealing for a medical redshirt would be a decision she will make later.

“There’s an outside chance that she can appeal for a sixth year,” Fennelly said, “but that would be up to her.”

The task now for the Cyclones will be to find someone to provide help at the guard position off of the bench.

Senior Tracy Gahan will probably fill the hole left by Junod, and junior Lindsey Wilson will stay at point guard. Junior college transfer Melanie Bremer and freshman forward Lisa Kriener will battle for Gahan’s spot in the lineup.

“That’s probably our first option,” to move Gahan to guard, Fennelly said.

Gahan, who has been versatile, said she will take the role – but Junod will be missed.

“It’s a great loss to us,” Gahan said. “She was very consistent and very solid. She did all the little things.”

Little things such as picking up 10 assists in the Cyclones’ 84-72 exhibition win over the Houston Jaguars on Sunday. She also scored four points and grabbed three rebounds.

Iowa State has plenty of freshman guards to choose from, including Ada Anderson, Mary Fox and Tracy Paustian. Gahan and junior Holly Bordewyk also will be looked upon to provide minutes at guard.

Fennelly said Junod’s injury will force the team to readjust before the regular season.

“We gotta look at some combinations we probably didn’t plan on using this season,” Fennelly said.

The Cyclones’ next game is Sunday, an exhibition battle against Johnson Financial. The regular season gets under way Saturday, Nov. 17, at Marquette in Milwaukee.