UConn women’s basketball’s upcoming matchup with No. 1 South Carolina on Thursday, Jan. 27 has been canceled and will not be made up, the school announced Sunday. Instead, the Huskies will play at DePaul on Wednesday, Jan. 26.
“[South Carolina head coach] Dawn Staley reached out to me about postponing the series for this season,” Geno Auriemma said in the release. “It’s a priority for South Carolina to make up SEC games, so this is the best decision for them right now. We know a lot of fans were excited for this game, but we look forward to continuing the series with South Carolina in future seasons.”
“I know our fans always enjoy the UConn game, and our team enjoys the rivalry; but I have always said that our conference season and especially our goal of another SEC championship is more central to our program,” Staley said. “As we approach the second half of league play next month, it has become more important to complete our SEC schedule to keep ourselves in the running for a conference title. This Thursday is one of the few dates Ole Miss has open, so, with my team’s best interest at heart, I started the conversations that led us to this point.”
This is likely a decision in the best interest of both programs. UConn has been ravaged due to injuries and has been playing just three healthy guards as of late. That doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon, either, since Auriemma said after the Huskies’ win over St. John’s on Sunday that there’s “a good chance” the team wouldn’t have Christyn Williams (COVID protocols) or Azzi Fudd (foot) back on Thursday.
South Carolina was expected to beat the shorthanded UConn team easily, so instead of a (mostly) meaningless non-conference game, both teams can makeup an extra conference game. Earlier this season — before injuries throttled the Huskies — the Gamecocks earned a 73-57 victory over the Huskies in the Battle 4 Atlantis championship.
Wednesday’s game against DePaul will be a makeup of the Dec. 31 contest that was axed due to the Huskies’ COVID problems. Television information will be announced later this week. UConn had its first three games after the holiday break canceled because of the COVID problems. With how tightly-packed the Huskies schedule is the rest of the way, there aren’t many — if any — dates available for makeups.
While Thursday was the last game of a home-and-home series between UConn and South Carolina, but this past summer, the two teams announced a new series which is set to begin next season. They will work to reschedule the canceled game in the future.