BYU Star Paisley Harding Reveals Broken Hand Injury From Women’s NCAA Tournament

Apr 2, 2021, 1:15 PM
Paisley Harding - BYU Women's Basketball...
#11 seed BYU defeated #6 seed Rutgers in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. BYU won the game by the score of 69-66 in the upset at Strahan Arena on the campus of Texas State in San Marcos, Texas. (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
(BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

PROVO, Utah – BYU women’s basketball put together a memorable 2020-21 season led by stars such as Shaylee Gonzales, Lauren Gustin, and Paisley Harding. The talented trio nearly led BYU to its first Sweet 16 appearance in seven years.

BYU led Arizona by four points with five minutes remaining in the game before the Wildcats stormed back to take the win. Arizona is now preparing to play in the Final Four against powerhouse UConn. Could that have been BYU? The question seems more relevant after Paisley Harding revealed she broke her hand during the NCAA Tournament.

Harding, who boasts nearly 28,000 followers on her Instagram page, turned to her IG stories to discuss her injury with her followers.

Paisley Harding broke her hand during the 2021 Women’s NCAA Tournament

The broken hand injury was suffered during the first-round win against Rutgers, with 6:34 remaining in the fourth quarter and BYU trailing by three. “It was during this play when I got the jump ball and fell on the ground,” wrote Harding. “You can tell how slow I got up from the ground. I could tell something was off.”

Paisley Harding Injury

Courtesy of @paisleynikelle/Instagram

Harding continued, “The next play down the court, I got a pass from Shay[lee Gonzales] and it really shook me. At that point, I believed that I had broken my hand. For some reason in that same possession I thought it would be a good idea to drive. I got fouled [sic] but you can tell that I was freaking out at the end of this clip.”

Harding, a First Team All-WCC selection this past year, finished the game with a team-high 28 points and played 39 of the 40 minutes in the first upset of the 2021 Women’s NCAA Tournament. During the game, Harding said she told her teammates that she thought she broke her hand. But she stayed focused to help lead her team to the big win.

“My teammates really helped me in this moment and I appreciated it more than they know,” wrote Harding.

Paisley Harding

Courtesy of @paisleynikelle/Instagram Stories

Two days later, BYU faced Arizona in the second round and ultimately fell short, 52-46 to the Wildcats. Harding could only play 22 minutes and wasn’t on the court for the final 8:09 of action in the game. If BYU has a healthy Harding, do the Cougars go to the Final Four?

The good news for BYU fans is that Jeff Judkins expects his entire team back next season. Giving this group another chance at a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

A senior this past year, Harding, is expected to return to BYU for one more year and take advantage of the NCAA’s blanket eligibility waiver.

X-Ray of Paisley Harding’s injury

Harding broke her 5th Metacarpal bone on her right hand. She posted an X-Ray on her IG stories of the work that the doctors did. Doctors wrapped her hand as she now recovers from the injury.

Paisley Hading X-Ray

Courtesy of @paisleynikelle/Instagram

The 5-foot-9 senior from Everett, Washington averaged 14.1 points, 3.1 assists, and 2.7 rebounds per game this past season. She helped lead the Cougars to a 19-6 record and their second consecutive NCAA Tournament with at least one win.

Harding, formerly Paisley Johnson, is married to Connor Harding, a member of the BYU men’s basketball team. Connor Harding recently entered the NCAA’s Transfer Portal.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.

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