July 1, 2020 

Purdue’s Karissa McLaughlin to miss entire 2020-21 season

The Boilermakers lose a first-team All-Big Ten selection

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Photo Credit: Official Purdue Women’s Basketball Twitter

Purdue women’s basketball guard Karissa McLaughlin will undergo ankle surgery in July and miss the entire 2020-21 season, head coach Sharon Versyp announced Monday. The senior will redshirt the upcoming year, providing her with an additional season of eligibility in 2021-22.

While McLaughlin originally intended to get the surgery in April, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Fort Wayne, Indiana native to postpone the procedure until this summer. The full recovery timetable for foot and ankle surgeries is anywhere from 3-12 months.

“Sitting out this season will be one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to face in my life,” McLaughlin said in a release. “I keep reminding myself that God has a plan and a reason for everything. I’ve stayed focused on the positives. I am going to do everything I can to be at 100% for next season. I will dedicate all my energy into my new role and offer any support I can to help this team win. I have all the confidence in the world in my teammates and know that we’re going to do big things this year.”

McLaughlin was Purdue’s second-leading scorer in 2019-20, posting 13.1 points per game on 38% shooting from the field. In her first three years in West Lafayette, she’s started 94 of the 98 games she’s played and sported career totals of 12.8 points per game on 39% shooting and 35.8% from three. She averages 3.57 assists per content for her career and stands as just the fifth player in program history to eclipse 100 assists in each of her first three seasons.

McLaughlin earned First-Team All-Big Ten recognition in 2019 and Honorable Mention in 2020. She’ll now have to wait an additional year before returning to the court against the conference’s best.

“It was crushing news,” Versyp said in the release. “We know it’s the right course of treatment for Karissa, but it’s still difficult to process. She has an immeasurable impact on our program. We know she will work hard to rehab and get in a position to be ready for next year. In the meantime, Karissa will still be a leader on this team and will find new ways to make an impact off the court.”

Purdue went 18-14 overall in 2019-20, starting the year 11-3 and 2-0 in conference play before losing three straight, beginning an inconsistent second half of the season. They finished the year at 8-10 in the Big Ten — ranked ninth out of 14 teams — capped by a loss to Maryland in the conference tournament quarterfinals.

Losing McLaughlin undoubtedly stings the Boilermakers, as they graduated the team’s other two double-figure scorers from last season in Ae’Rianna Harris and Dominique Oden. The duo combined for 26.4 points and 13.9 rebounds per game, but neither was selected in the 2020 WNBA Draft.

Without McLaughlin, Purdue will turn to their new cohort of seniors — Fatou Diagne, Jenelle Grant, Lyndsey Whilby and Tamara Farquhar — to lead to charge in 2020-21. Look for junior Kayana Traylor to incur more responsibility after starting 25 games as a sophomore, averaging 6.6 points and 3.2 assists. Traylor is a guard that can provide similar height to McLaughlin, though less of a scoring threat from long-range.

The Boilermakers also welcome two standout freshmen to campus this fall in Ra’Shaya Kyle and Madison Layden. Kyle and Layden are ranked as the 36th and 55th ranked overall players in the class of 2020, per ESPN’s HoopGurlz.

Written by Ben Rosof

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