Homestead graduate and Purdue point guard Karissa McLaughlin will miss the entire 2020-21 after undergoing surgery for an ankle injury in July, the Boilermakers announced Monday.
McLaughlin, who was set to play her final season of eligibility this year, plans to redshirt and return as a fifth-year senior for the 2021-22 campaign.
"Sitting out this season will be one of the hardest things I've ever had to face in my life," McLaughlin said. "I keep reminding myself that God has a plan and a reason for everything. I've stayed focused on the positives. I am going to do everything I can to be at 100% for next season.
"I will dedicate all my energy into my new role and offer any support I can to help this team win. I have all the confidence in the world in my teammates and know that we're going to do big things this year."
McLaughlin, the 2017 Indiana Miss Basketball, is a two-time All-Big Ten player and has started 94 of Purdue's 98 games in her first three seasons on campus. She was set to lead a Boilermakers team looking to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017, one that would have featured 10 seniors and juniors had she been in the lineup.
The 5-foot-7 guard was originally scheduled to have surgery in April after missing two games in February with a lower-leg injury, but the surgery was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Purdue women's basketball team returned to campus to begin voluntary workouts June 22.
"It was crushing news," Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said of learning McLaughlin will be out for the year. "We know it's the right course of treatment for Karissa, but it's still difficult to process. She has an immeasurable impact on our program. We know she will work hard to rehab and get in a position to be ready for next year. In the meantime, Karissa will still be a leader on this team and will find new ways to make an impact off the court."
McLaughlin was in reach of a host of individual accomplishments heading into her final season. She needs just seven 3-pointers to break the Purdue record for 3s, currently held by Courtney Moses, and has a chance to become one of the top five scorers in program history.
She averaged 13.1 points and a team-best 3.4 assists last season. McLaughlin was set to be the only returning player on the roster who averaged double-figure scoring in 2019-20.
In May, she told The Journal Gazette she was excited to get back on the court with her teammates.
“Just finally getting back in the gym and competing,” McLaughlin said of what she's looking forward to most. “It's so hard being a competitor not being able to compete against your teammates and get better and do one on one, two on twos, different things like that. So honestly, getting back on the court and grinding it out together.”