Rowlyk gets conditional OK


EMMITSBURG -- Provided her swollen right eye opens sufficiently, Mount St. Mary's center Susie Rowlyk has been cleared to play in the first round of the NCAA Division I women's tournament.

Rowlyk, the co-Northeast Conference Player of the Year, visited a specialist yesterday in Lincoln University, Pa., her hometown, and was given the clearance provided she wears some sort of protection.

The Mountaineers (24-5) take on host Alabama (20-8) on Thursday night in the East Regional in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

"Susie called my assistant, Candy Cage, and told her they found a small hairline fracture near the sinus area," said Mount coach Bill Sheahan. "But she has been cleared to both fly and play if the eye opens."

Sheahan said Mount trainer Colin Provost has called a company to supply "some sort of goggles or mask" for Rowlyk to wear on the court. The protective device will be sent to the team hotel in Alabama if it is not ready in time to reach Emmitsburg.

Rowlyk did not practice at Knott Arena yesterday, but will join the pre-tournament practice at Alabama tomorrow if she is able.

She was injured in a freak accident while racing onto the court to celebrate the NEC title victory Saturday night. Rowlyk's head collided with the head of one of the officials.

At 6 feet 2, Rowlyk is the Mount's tallest player. She is also the team's top scorer and shot-blocker and No. 2 rebounder.

"It looks encouraging," said Sheahan. "But the eye has to open. I hope she can play because Alabama is going to be a tough one."

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