For the second time in as many seasons, the Arizona Wildcats have lost a projected starter to a right knee injury.
Senior forward Alli Gloyd tore her ACL in a scrimmage and will miss the entire 2013-14 season, the UA announced Thursday.
Gloyd suffered the injury a week ago, coach Niya Butts told reporters at Pac-12 media day in San Francisco. The UA learned the severity of the injury last Friday, when the forward’s MRI results came back. Gloyd will have surgery “soon,” Butts told reporters.
“It sucks,” she said. “But, hey, you have to push forward and you know difficulties mastered are opportunities won.”
Gloyd, a Phoenix product and transfer from Mesa Community College, played and started every game for the Wildcats last year, averaging 9.4 points and 6 rebounds in 29 minutes per game. Gloyd could pursue a medical redshirt; if it’s granted, she would be eligible to return for the 2014-15 season.
Gloyd’s injury comes one year after the Wildcats lost guard Candice Warthen to a knee injury; now fully recovered, Warthen is expected to be a key contributor this season.
Thursday brought more bad news for the Wildcats: The UA was picked to finish 11th in the annual preseason Pac-12 coaches poll, released at media day.
For the 13th straight year, Stanford was picked as the preseason favorite.
The Cardinal collected a unanimous 11 first-place votes to secure their spot; they were followed by Cal, Colorado, Washington, UCLA and USC. Arizona State was picked to finish 10th, one spot ahead of the UA and behind Utah, Oregon State and Washington State. Oregon has been picked to finish last.
Butts called the conference “so different” in terms of styles of play.
“We’re unlike conferences where you can generalize, but we have so many different coaches with different styles that the Pac-12 has something for everybody,” she said. “You can find someone in the league that’ll play your style … you know you’re gonna get a little bit of everything, it’s not predictable.”
Arizona’s poll placement shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as the Wildcats finished 4-14 in Pac-12 play last year.
The Wildcats will be without both Gloyd and leading scorer Davellyn Whyte, who was drafted by the WNBA’s San Antonio Silver Stars.
The UA opens its home slate Nov. 2 with an exhibition game against Fort Lewis College.