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Morrison and Weinman reunited at Valparaiso
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WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

Morrison and Weinman reunited at Valparaiso

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VALPARAISO — Carie Weinman and Caitlin Morrison have been through a lot during five years of playing basketball together. Nothing the pair experienced while playing at Glenbrook South (Ill.) could’ve prepared them for the last 17 months as members of the Valparaiso women’s basketball team.

Morrison was named Second Team All-State as a senior and transitioned easily to Valparaiso where she started 25 games and was named the team’s Rookie of the Year. Weinman, a year younger than Morrison, was also named Second Team All-State as a senior before enrolling at Denver. She spent her freshman year with the Pioneers, but started looking for another school when the season ended.

It didn’t take her long to find Morrison and the Crusaders.

“Caitlin was my first contact here and I was able to get the low down on what was going on,” Weinman said. “She told me they were about to get a new coach. I had looked at Valpo when I was in high school, but now everything worked out.”

Weinman became the first official recruit of the Mary Evans Era at Valparaiso, not that she was able to take immediate advantage of that distinction. NCAA rules dictated that Weinman would need to sit out the season due to transfer requirements. She would soon have company.

Morrison battled injuries throughout her sophomore year, but gutted them out and started all 29 games while leading the Crusaders with 39 blocks and was second on the team with 36 steals and 4.5 rebounds per game. She had ankle surgery immediately after the season and looked poised to return strong last season. Weinman arrived on campus for summer workouts, but then as the fall hit, Morrison didn’t feel right.

“My ankle was bothering me again, so I went to get it drained and to get an MRI to see what was happening,” Morrison said. “We didn’t think it was going to be anything, but it turned out I had torn everything in the ankle again.”

Morrison was crushed. Instead of being able to make a good impression on her new coach, she was relegated to the sidelines and another lengthy rehab stint. That’s where she found Weinman waiting for her.

“We just made the best out of the worst situation,” Morrison said. “We got to sit out with each other. Now I get to spend two years playing with Carie instead of just one. I wouldn’t want my college career to be over in two months. I get a full other year now.”

Watching their teammates struggle through an 8-24 season, including a 3-15 mark in the Missouri Valley Conference, was like salt in the wound. Weinman was healthy enough to contribute in practice, but she missed being able to play in games. Morrison mentally resigned herself to the fact she couldn’t contribute on the court, but she made sure to stay positive off the court.

“They were big for us last year,” Evans said. “They were great teammates and supportive. The hardest thing to do is sit out and not be able to play the game you love.”

Both players have returned to the court with a vengeance this season, each starting all 15 games. Weinman has shed her label as just being a shooter and she is third on the team in scoring with 8.8 points per game and second with 27 steals. Morrison has slowly rounded into form as the year has gone on, but the daughter of former VU men’s player Scott Morrison, leads the Crusaders (10-5) with 17 blocks and is shooting 81% from the free throw line.

“Things are so different now than they have been in the past,” Morrison said. “It’s great to be able to see all the hard work and everything that we went through pay off. We’re having a great time playing together. We talked a lot last year about getting back on the court and it’s been great.”

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