Frierson, out for year, due in surgery Wednesday

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 26, 2000

Catrina Frierson, the most prolific scorer in Vicksburg High history and a projected starter for national power Louisiana Tech, will undergo surgery Wednesday in Shreveport, La., to repair two torn ligaments in her left knee.

She will miss the entire 2000-01 season.

“This is the most devastating loss I’ve encountered in all my days of coaching,” Lady Techsters coach Leon Barmore said. “Catrina is a big-time player with a warrior’s mentality.

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“We are losing our go-to player and about 18 points and eight rebounds a game.”

The former Missy Gator, who averaged 10.5 points and 4.6 rebounds as the first player off the bench last year at Tech, was playing in a pickup game on campus Thursday.

Teammate Brooke Lassiter threw a long pass, Frierson caught it in stride and attempted to make a layup, Tech assistant and former VHS coach Chris Long said.

When she came down, her left knee gave way, Long said.

She tore her anterior cruciate ligament, which runs down the back of the knee, and the lateral collateral ligament, which runs down the side of the knee.

“I just hate it for her,” Long said this morning. “She had been working hard and getting better. She was going to be our go-to person.”

Frierson, The Vicksburg Post’s Player of the Year in 1998 and 1999, will receive a medical redshirt. That means that after this year, she will still have three years of eligibility.

The loss is especially crippling as the Lady Techsters are slated to play host to defending national champion Conecticut, as well as SEC powers Tennessee and Mississippi State.

She burst on the scene as a freshman and helped the Lady Techsters advance in the NCAA Tournament with a pair of free throws with only two seconds left to beat Vanderbilt in the second round of last season’s tournament.

This kind of surgery usually takes six to nine months to recover from, Long said.

“She’s upset,” Long said. “She was ready for the season to start. She just has to work hard to come back.”

(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)