Senior guard Lindsey Spann's career at USC will end a month early. Just before the women's basketball game Sunday, the team announced Spann would be out for the reaminder of the 2017-2018 season due to knee injuries. A grad transfer from Penn State, Spann provided veteran knowledge and leadership, and the Gamecocks will surely miss her three-point shooting.
It didn't take long for Spann's absence to become apparent. In Sunday’s game against Florida, the Gamecocks' lack of sharpshooters put the team in trouble. Without Spann on the floor, South Carolina was searching for an answer other than A'ja Wilson. Luckily for the Gamecocks, Ty Harris caught fire and stepped up and went 4-6 from the floor, including hitting three timely threes in the fourth quarter.
Harris proved that the Gamecocks would be able to rely on her in the future to provide a shooting threat from the outside, but at the end of the game, Spann's absence still affected the team.
Spann has been battling injuries all season and just returned to action earlier this week, only for her season to be cut short due to her recurring knee problems. Head coach Dawn Staley acknowledged the loss of one of her key players, expressing that Spann's absence from the court is not an ideal way for her to end the season and collegiate career.
“She’s a great kid," Staley said. “She’s a great locker room kid ... I think the basketball gods got it wrong.”
While Spann’s injury will hurt the Gamecocks on the court, they will still have her presence in the locker room, so the team will be able to draw on her leadership and motivation. It remains to be seen, however, which players will step up in her place.
Doniyah Cliney and Harris are both capable of providing the offense Staley is looking for, but having two guards won't be enough from a depth standpoint for the rest of the season. Staley will have to rely on freshman Bianca Jackson to come in and play a much larger role for the Gamecocks in the latter part of the season. It will be up to these three to make the absence of Spann a bit easier moving forward.