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UConn women’s basketball’s game at Villanova canceled

The Huskies have now had their first four games after Christmas wiped out due to COVID problems.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn women’s basketball’s game at Villanova on Friday, Jan. 7 has been canceled due to COVID-19 issues within the Huskies’ program, the school announced Tuesday.

While the Big East will attempt to reschedule the matchup, this is the Huskies’ fourth game that has been canceled. One — vs. Marquette on Dec. 29 — got bumped due to COVID issues with the Golden Eagles. The last three — at DePaul on Dec. 31, at Georgetown on Dec. 5, and at Villanova — have all been because of UConn’s own problems with the virus.

During his radio appearance with 97.9 ESPN on Monday, Geno Auriemma was “not too optimistic” Friday’s game would happen. He explained that one player tested positive while they were home for Christmas and did not return to campus with the rest of the team on Dec. 26. Others came back with symptoms and “a couple” tested positive immediately while “a couple more” did so a few days later, according to the coach.

With the Huskies already down to eight non-injured players with Paige Bueckers (knee), Azzi Fudd (foot), Aubrey Griffin (back) and Nika Mühl (foot) out, just two positive tests would send the team below the Big East’s threshold of seven available players required to play.

UConn, following recommendations from the Connecticut Department of Public Health, requires anyone who tests positive to isolate for 10 days. On top of that, Auriemma said players need five days of practice after isolation before they’re ready to play in a game. That means if a player tests positive, they will likely be out for at least 15 days.

It’ll be difficult for the Big East to reschedule all four games for the Huskies. According to Seton Hall athletic director Bryan Felt, the conference won’t schedule teams to play three games in a week in back-to-back weeks. With an already-packed slate the rest of the way, UConn doesn’t have many openings available.

The Huskies’ next scheduled game is set for Sunday, Jan. 9 against Creighton at Gampel Pavilion.