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Women adjusting without injured point guard

KK Houser was wearing her practice gear in Mackey Arena on Sunday.

She was issuing directives to Purdue freshmen point guards Courtney Moses and Dee Dee Williams. She was chatting with other teammates and coaches on the sidelines. She laughed. She encouraged. She was vocal through most of the nearly three-hour practice.

And that's the extent of Houser's role now.

Houser hurt her right knee on a drive to the basket during the season opener Friday and received confirmation Saturday that she would miss the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

So all the former starting point guard can do now is watch, counsel and wait.

"I was told now that my role is to be like another assistant coach, so I'll be helping (coach Sharon Versyp) with scouting, with the guard group, all that. I have to sit out a year, but I won't just be sitting there rehabbing. Learning more as a player off the court," Houser said Sunday before practice, the first time she'd spoken publicly since the injury.

"I'm doing all right as of now. The coaches, my teammates are really there for me, making sure I'm OK. Checking up, 'You need this?' So I have a really strong family behind me, holding me together."

Houser said she planted wrong going up for a layup and while in the air could tell the knee wasn't OK. When she landed, she just felt pain. She wasn't initially sure how bad the injury was, she said.

"I felt like I just had like locked my knee, so I was like, 'Oh, I'll be back in a couple minutes,' " she said.

Instead, she'll start a rehab process that typically takes six months. No surgery has been scheduled yet. She can walk without crutches but was wearing a sleeve over the knee Sunday.

"I just try to stay positive because it's over and there's nothing I can do about it anymore," she said. "So just staying positive and getting stronger for next year and just learning and be a better leader so when I'm ready for next year."

Without Houser, coach Sharon Versyp turns to Moses and Williams, a pair of freshmen.

Moses, Indiana's Miss Basketball last season, has an expansive offensive game and Williams is an athletic, long-armed defensive-minded player.

"We don't want people to think, 'Oh, we're just freshmen,' " Williams said. "We're going to play how we play, too. We're going to play like a senior. It is kind of a shaky thing because you have two freshmen as your backups, but we have to go out and take it as a challenge."

Moses scored 20 points and had five assists with the increased minutes in the season opener. Williams had seven points and four assists.

Moses said she doesn't feel any pressure because she has such a great supporting cast. Williams didn't play as much point guard at Ben Davis, though, so her switch may be a bit tougher.

It's possibly that junior Brittany Rayburn could move from shooting guard to play point guard in spots, if needed. Versyp said she also talked to transfer Antionette Howard about potentially playing the position later in the season to take advantage of Howard's ability to create.

Perhaps this team more than in the past couple years in the program can absorb this loss because of its depth.

And Versyp insists Houser's loss, though it hurts, won't change the up-tempo, full-court pressure style she wants to play this season.

"I think we have a lot of weapons and so we're just going to play the way we need to play," Versyp said.

  • Houser's knee injury is just another in a shocking trend to knock out some of the university's top athletes. Football players Ralph Bolden, Keith Smith and Robert Marve have all suffered ACL injuries in the last year, and men's basketball star Robbie Hummel has torn his twice in the last year. Houser said she got a call from Smith on Friday night.