RAINBOW WAHINE BASKETBALL
Grice has no regrets about aggravating her foot injury
LAS CRUCES, N.M. » Brittany Grice figured the ache in her foot wouldn't hurt as badly as the pain in her heart had she finished her college career on the bench.
Despite having stress fractures in a bone in her left foot, Grice returned to the court yesterday, completing her career in Hawaii's 72-47 loss to Fresno State in the quarterfinals of the Western Athletic Conference tournament.
The injury ended up worse at game's end. She said the two initial stress fractures met to form a complete break in the bone. She said the injury will not require surgery, although she will be in a protective boot for the next six weeks.
But the senior center didn't regret her decision to give it a try yesterday as the Wahine (15-14) lost their second straight after going more than a month between defeats during an eight-game winning streak.
"I would have liked to have been able to give more, but now looking back I am so glad that I got to play in my final game," Grice said, leaning on crutches. "I would have been probably more upset had we lost and I hadn't gotten to participate. It just didn't happen for us today."
Grice battled through a back injury that bugged her most of her senior season and said she was finally feeling back to her old self when she first felt pain in her foot during a senior night win over San Jose State.
X-rays taken last week revealed the stress fractures and she missed UH's last two regular season games and didn't practice with the team leading up to the WAC tournament.
The decision on whether to play yesterday was left to Grice, and she told acting head coach Pat Charity she'd be available.
"The doctor told me if I wasn't a senior there's no way they would have let me play," Grice said. "I've been through a lot of injuries, so I figured, 'Why not? Give it one last go.' "
Grice said that had the Wahine jumped out to a lead, she probably would have stayed out and given her foot a couple more days to heal and possibly return for a semifinal game tomorrow. But with the Wahine trailing 28-15 early, she entered the game at the 4:50 mark of the first half and finished with six points in 14 minutes.
"Brittany's hurting. Brittany should never have been on the floor," Charity said. "It's not just her foot, her back hurts. The kid has had a rough year for sure and she has worked hard. All of them have, but Brittany's been hurting. ... Every time she gets knocked down, she gets back up."
Grice endured the pain until the late stages of the game, when she felt the break as she went up for a shot.
"Honestly it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be," Grice said. "It was hard, it was painful, but I was surprised how much it didn't bother me until that last shot. That last shot I felt it, I figured that's when I did it.
"I wouldn't have dressed if I didn't want to play, that was my decision. I wanted to be with my team for at least one last game."
Grice is among five Wahine seniors. Grice, Janevia Taylor, Pam Tambini, Amber Lee and Cassidy Chretien took the floor as a group late in the game before being subbed out.
Grice, a co-captain, was twice named to the WAC's All-Defensive team and will leave UH second in school history in blocked shots with 189. She has been accepted to law school at Notre Dame, but may look into playing professionally after her foot heals.