Senior Nicole Brunicardi tore her ACL on Jan. 12 at the end of a nail-biting home game against rival Mills High School. She had spearheaded multiple offensive and defensive plays, making a three-pointer and an invigorating fast break in the third quarter to help rally the team against Mills’ 11-point lead and aggressive offense. With two minutes left in the fourth quarter, she suffered her first significant injury in her 10-year basketball career.
“I knew something was wrong right when it happened,” said Brunicardi, who is now using crutches to navigate the school campus and courts. “I was looking forward to this season with my team and enjoying it but sadly it came to an end.”
Brunicardi is one of four senior captains, however, she insists that her season is not over.
“I plan to be at every game and practice supporting my team,” said Brunicardi. “Our communication was outstanding against Mills...We were constantly fighting back 10 times as hard as Mills.”
Even though the Panthers ultimately lost the game by seven points, Brunicardi believes they made substantial improvements since the preseason. She has high hopes for her teammates, including junior Izadora de Oliveira and sophomore Katerina Rally, who will take her spot as shooting guard.
As for her own recovery, she hopes to be back on the court within five to six months.
“I won’t rush into anything. Especially in physical therapy.” She plans to continue playing basketball at Skyline College and continues to fulfill responsibilities as captain.
“I hope we can just keep our head and mentality up no matter what we go through, Brunicardi said. “We would really like to make it far this year.”