Former UB Bull Mackenzie Loesing honored on Senior Day after injuries end career prematurely
The moment Mackenzie Loesing found out her basketball career was over, the first person she thought to call outside of her immediate family was her head coach, Felisha Legette-Jack.
“She told me to go home, just take the next few days off and let this process,” Loesing said. “Knowing that last year was going to be my last year and this year was going to be tough for me. I couldn’t have gone through what I did without her.”
Legette-Jack and Loesing created plenty of memories on the court of Alumni Arena during their three years together with the Buffalo women’s basketball team. And Legette-Jack made sure they made one last memory together on the court this past Saturday.
Even though Loesing was forced to end her career a year early due to chronic ankle injuries and was not on the roster this season, she was still honored on Senior Day Saturday prior to the start of Buffalo’s regular season finale. Loesing, alongside fellow senior guard Karin Moss, received her encased No. 35 jersey amid cheers from the crowd.
It was her final sendoff – a moment she thought she would never have.
“It was special,” Loesing said. “Missing my senior season, I thought I was going to miss out on [Senior Day]. Knowing that I still have a great relationship with this team and coaches, and a relationship with [Legette-]Jack, it makes me feel like I’m still apart of it.”
The day was Dec. 5, 2014 when Loesing sat in a doctor’s office and was told that she couldn’t play competitive basketball anymore. The years of putting together a basketball career, the work she put in to make an impact as a member of the Bulls – would end prematurely.
Loesing would continue through the pain and finish out her junior season. She came off the bench just to make it to season’s end and ended up as the Mid-American Conference Sixth Man of the Year.
Loesing was one of the most instrumental players that Legette-Jack ever coached. She finished her career with 1,243 points – good enough for ninth all-time in program history – and seventh all-time in three-pointers (123).
Legette-Jack made sure to honor Loesing. She simply wouldn’t have had it any other way.
“This was something I wanted to do,” Legette-Jack said. “She was a part of this program, and integral one, and this was supposed to be her year. She was supposed to be on that court.”
Loesing understood everyone’s athletic career ends at some point, and after her own ended prematurely, she moved on to another important aspect of her life – becoming a doctor.
“Now that I lost basketball, my other career goal is to be a doctor,” Loesing said, “so that line of education is very competitive and I have a lot to give my energy to.”
She currently works at Mercy Hospital and does work in a research lab. She said she now puts the same effort she once put toward basketball into her medical career. Along with working at Mercy Hospital, Loesing is also doing research in a social development lab in Buffalo.That endeavor takes up most of her time. The team offered Loesing a position on the coaching staff as a student assistant, but she received several opportunities in pre-med. She said Legette-Jack is “someone who wants 100 percent dedication,” and didn’t feel she could give her undivided attention to the court.
But she was allowed to attend basketball practice. It allowed Loesing to stay close to the team.
As Legette-Jack said, Loesing was working on her “new normal,” just as team was working on theirs.
“At the beginning I hated seeing her in the stands because I wanted her playing,” Legette-Jack said. “We had to get used to our new normal, us without her and her in the stands. Her new normal is in the stands … Now we have a different kind of relationship, more mature.”
Legette-Jack still wonders about what would’ve happened if Loesing could’ve remained on the roster. Along with Loesing’s loss, Buffalo also lost its other top players to transfer or graduation after last season.
But Legette-Jack believes it’s the fans that lost out the most.
“What the crowd doesn’t understand is what they’re missing,” Legette-Jack said. “They’re missing out on a good player on a good team. With Mackenzie, that’s five to six more wins on this team. We’re going to continue to grow this thing, but it’s tough for a young team.”
Quentin Haynes is the co-senior sports editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @HaynesTheWriter.