Shadeen Samuels’ meteoric rise of a junior season looked cut-short when she crash-landed on the Walsh Gymnasium court last Friday night – but not so fast.
The two-time Big East Player of the Week and Big East Player of the Year candidate – leading the conference in points per game (18.5) – may be available when the Pirates visit Georgetown and Villanova in their penultimate weekend of the regular season.
Samuels had 19 points in only 26 minutes on Friday when her legs and arms tangled with those of DePaul guard Sonya Morris. The two went down in a heap, and Samuels’ shoulder-area pounded the court violently.
The uber-talented forward remained down for several minutes before exiting to the locker room. She later returned to the bench with a protective sling, watching from there as DePaul closed out a 94-85 win.
Two days later, a vengeful Marquette team – off of its stunning loss to St. John’s – ran roughshod over Senior Day sentiment and defeated a Samuels-less Seton Hall in Walsh Gym, 109-63.
With the Pirates now approaching a breaking point – teetering to avoid the dreaded Big East Tournament first round – Samuels is expected to return from her left shoulder injury.
Seton Hall head coach Tony Bozzella shared today that he is “optimistic she will play within a week.”
Whether or not she features in return fixtures against the Hoyas and Wildcats this Friday and Sunday is uncertain, but signs are pointing toward Samuels being more than ready for the Pirates’ March 3 regular season finale at St. John’s – a game that takes on added significance following the Red Storm’s 4-1 surge in recent weeks.
Barring an unforeseen setback, Samuels’ return promises to not only reinvigorate a reeling Pirates team, but also further cement her season as one of the greatest in program history.
James Justice can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @JamesJusticeIII.