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Washington women’s basketball forced to postpone Friday’s game against Oregon State due to COVID-19

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 20, 2021

Washington head coach Jody Wynn, top center, speaks with her players during the second half of an NCAA women's college basketball game against Stanford, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, in Las Vegas.   (Associated Press)
Washington head coach Jody Wynn, top center, speaks with her players during the second half of an NCAA women's college basketball game against Stanford, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, in Las Vegas.  (Associated Press)
By Percy Allen Seattle Times

SEATTLE – The Huskies returned to the court to practice last Saturday following a 10-day quarantine that wiped out four games and forced the Washington women’s basketball team to suspend activities after two players tested positive for COVID-19.

UW had hoped to return to game action this week, but needed to postpone its game on Friday at Oregon State citing continuing “COVID-19-related issues.”

At the moment, Washington (4-5, 1-5 Pac-12) is still scheduled to play at No. 13 Oregon (9-3, 7-3) on Sunday.

On Monday during her weekly radio show , coach Jody Wynn was noncommittal about when the Huskies would play again and said UW had just seven available players at the time.

“We got back (last Saturday) to do some skill work, no-contact work and low-intensity work,” Wynn said. “We went at it again on Sunday with something pretty similar. We’re not able to have contact until Wednesday. (Monday) was an off day.

“We’re just taking it slowly. Getting ourselves back into the groove of things. Hopefully, have a good practice (Tuesday) at moderate intensity. Wednesday we’re able to have some contact and see how the women are responding. But so far, so good. They responded well for the limited numbers that we have back on the court.”

According to Pac-12 COVID-19 protocols enacted this season, teams are required to have at least seven scholarship players to play a game, but a team without the minimum requirement can still push to compete.

On Monday, Wynn expressed concern about having the Huskies ready to play following a 1½-week layoff while adhering to strict UW medical guidelines that required players and coaches to remain 6 feet apart during the first few practices.

“We tried to do defensive drills yesterday and we put these pop-ups all over the court to simulate offensive players, but then you can’t really move a ball because the pop-ups can’t catch,” Wynn said. “So we had our staff standing behind the pop-ups a good distance, about 5-6 feet behind, to pass the ball around.

“But you can’t get it anywhere near the paint because that would violate the 6 feet apart from each other. It was definitely challenging. We did some dummy transition work and some 5-on-0 stuff. The girls were excited to be back. They looked well. They want to play. It’s just day to day and see how they’re continuing to respond.”

In addition to UW’s game at Oregon State, the Huskies’ game against California on Jan. 29 has been called off due to COVID-19 complications among the Golden Bears that forced the team to temporarily shut down.

Washington has had seven games postponed this season, tied with Cal for the most in the conference.

The Huskies were scheduled to host No. 11 Arizona last Friday and Arizona State on Sunday. This week’s games at No. 8 UCLA and USC were also postponed.

On Dec. 21, UW had a game against Oregon State called off due to COVID-19 developments within OSU’s program.

Not including its seven postponements, Washington has nine regular-season games remaining and Wynn is doubtful most of the makeup games will be played considering just six weeks remain before the Pac-12 Tournament on March 4. “Unfortunately, we won’t have an opportunity to make up the (seven) postponed games that we’ve had within conference,” Wynn said. “We’re trying to figure out if we can squeeze in a game. So out of conference is certainly something that our coaching staff is trying to figure out if we can squeeze in a game on a weekend.

“We’ve had discussions with (Seattle University). … We hope it can work out. Heck, I might just put out an add on my Twitter feed calling anybody if you want a game come to Seattle.”

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