Published March 17, 2016
COLUMBUS -- This should be Mackenzie Loesing’s senior season. She should be on the court tomorrow afternoon when the UB women’s basketball team takes on Ohio State in the Bulls’ first-ever NCAA tournament appearance.
But instead of leading the charge on the hardwood, she’ll be leading the cheers from the stands.
Loesing had to cut her basketball career short after last season due to a nagging ankle injury. It wasn’t easy for the Cincinnati native, who, had she been able to play this season, would have had the extra sweet opportunity of making UB history close to her hometown, in front of lots of family and friends.
Even though she isn’t on the roster this year, Loesing has been embraced by the team as if she was still part of it. In a way, she is. “I’ve felt like nothing’s changed,” Loesing said earlier this week.
Loesing had been an integral part of the team during her first three years, especially last season when she was named the MAC’s Sixth Man of the Year. She ranks ninth all-time in scoring at UB with 1,243 points. Her senior year was supposed to be something special.
“It was a tough situation because she couldn’t play but she wanted to be a part of it and she was, as much as she could be,” said Bulls coach Felisha Legette-Jack. “It was hard for her in the beginning and she kind of separated herself. But she realized we’re still here for her and she’s still part of us. I always tell my players they have me for life.”
With her basketball career over, Loesing was able to focus full time on studying for a career in medicine, while participating in some team activities. She came to practices and attended games. She was honored on Senior Day this year. Team members gave her one of the medals they received for winning the MAC tournament.
“It’s amazing that I even get to be a part of this at all,” said Loesing, a biomedical sciences and pre-med major who works in the emergency department at Mercy Hospital in Buffalo and plans to go to medical school, possibly at UB.
“A year ago I thought my chance of experiencing a MAC championship was over,” she says. “I gave up that dream to pursue my dream of a career in medicine. But Coach Jack and the rest of the team embraced me as if I was still on the roster. It’s meant so much to me.”
If the Bulls’ season continues with a win against heavily favored Ohio State, you can bet Loesing will be back in the building on Sunday for UB’s second-round game. It would be as if nothing changed.