Notre Dame sophomore Abby Prohaska, one of the few familiar faces to return for the Irish, announced on the eve of the season opener that she would be out indefinitely due to blood clots in both of her lungs.
Prohaska, a 5-foot-10 guard, announced on Twitter she was diagnosed with bilateral pulmonary embolism.
The Irish lost all five of their starters to the WNBA last year and started the preseason with a mere 7.3 percent of its 2018-19 offseason back in town for its chance at the program’s 1,000th win Tuesday.
Prohaska out indefinitely with blood clots
Prohaska said she would be out indefinitely, but will be “right alongside this team for every game I cannot play.” She was a reserve on a team with elite talent at every position and finished as runner-up. The 2018 champions lost to Baylor instead of completing the repeat.
Head coach Muffet McGraw told WSBT in Indiana the condition was discovered shortly before autumn break when Prohaska felt she wasn’t performing as well as she could. The sophomore visited the emergency room after a team walk-through.
"Thanks to her we found it. She's the kind of player who just pushes through everything, so I'm thankful that she finally said I can't take it anymore. It's hard to see anybody that is 19-years old go through anything this tough, but when you face adversity you learn a lot, she's going to be out here cheering us on."
Prohaska played in 38 of the team’s 39 games last year. Her high school coach, Lakota West’s Andy Fishman, told the Cincinnati Enquirer that Prohaska was “not at all conceding a playing career” and is going to find a way to lead the team as expected “in every way possible.”
McGraw said a best case scenario is the guard returns in January, per WSBT.
Notre Dame down familiar faces
Arike Ogunbowale, Jackie Young, Marina Mabrey, Jessica Shepard and Brianna Turner were the most prolific scoring group in Irish history. All five starters, who amassed 10,230 points, are now in the WNBA, leaving a massive lack of returnees.
The Irish also lost Danielle Patterson, who scored the second-most points off the bench and transferred to Indiana, and Jordan Nixon, who had 64 points, 34 assists and 20 steals before transferring.
Before Prohaska was sidelined, the Irish were bringing back only 253 points of the 3,454 scored as a team last season (7.3 percent). With her sidelined, it’s 5.6 percent of offense returning and only seven scholarship players are now available for the first tip-off.
"It's been devastating for us,” McGraw said, via WSBT. “We know you can succeed with a small roster, but not at the beginning of the year. It changes everything, it changes the way we play, we're going to have to play a little more conservatively, and we lose the experience factor."
Prohaska scored 58 points with 43 assists and 30 steals in 549 minutes of play last season. Mikayla Vaughn had 125 points in 364 minutes, Danielle Cosgrove scored 37 over 131, and Katlyn Gilbert scored 25 in 111 minutes.
Notre Dame added top recruits Sam Brunelle and Anaya Peoples as well as graduate transfers Marta Sniezek from Stanford and Destinee Walker form North Carolina.
Irish go after 1,000th victory
Notre Dame opens the season Tuesday in the Bronx against Fordham in its first road opener since 2008. The Fighting Irish are going for their 1,000th victory in program history.
McGraw is 835-234 in her 33rd season at Notre Dame
A successful season could also net the Irish a higher spot among the now 12 teams to have won at least 1,000 games. Maryland is 12th with 1,001. Western Kentucky is 11th with 1,004. And Green Bay is 10th with 1,005.
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