The first top 10-test for the UConn women's basketball team this season has been canceled due to a positive COVID-19 test.
The third-ranked Huskies' game with No. 6 Baylor scheduled for Thursday night at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas has been canceled after Baylor coach Kim Mulkey tested positive for the coronavirus. The Bears also announced their Big 12 game with Kansas State was postponed due to the Wildcats being unable to reach the minimum roster threshold. Further Baylor participation in upcoming contests will be determined by how long the program is restricting activity with safety of the program and its members driving those decisions, the school said.
The Huskies (6-0 overall, 5-0 Big East) are scheduled to play next against conference opponent Providence on Saturday at Gampel Pavilion.
"There's no guarantee, there really isn't," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said Tuesday. "All you can do is the best you can do and keep your fingers crossed. It's unfortunate and I don't know even want to go beyond that and talk about all the disruptions and all the disappointments everyone's faced. We knew when we decided to play we'd be in for a roller-coaster ride unlike any we've ever been on."
UConn lost two non-league games in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame Challenge, including a potential matchup with Mississippi State, and a non-league contest with Louisville at Mohegan Sun Arena to the start of the season when a Tier-1 individual in the Huskies' program (not a player and not a coach) tested positive for COVID-19.
The only non-conference game remaining (currently) on the Huskies' slate against a ranked opponent is a showdown with No. 5 South Carolina Feb. 8 at Gampel Pavilion.
UConn was rated No. 2 in the NCAA's first NET rankings released Monday. Auriemma said the NCAA Tournament selection committee will have its work cut out for it come seeding time.
"They're not going to be able to figure it out, who belongs and who doesn't belong," Auriemma said. "It's going to be like college football. When it all breaks down just round up the usual suspects. Who's usually in the NCAA Tournament? That's what it comes down to.
"Maybe I can deal with this a little better than most people because I've been living my whole life like this. I have no idea what the hell is coming next. I just wake up and deal with what's coming up that day."
Mulkey missed the Jan. 2 contest at TCU due to contact tracing. According to Baylor, she produced three negative tests leading up to the game, however, she decided to remain in quarantine. When Mulkey returned to team activities Monday, which included a COVID-19 test, her results were positive.
"On December 25, I was exposed to COVID-19 by a family member who tested positive," Mulkey said in a statement. "I immediately self-quarantined and did not re-join the team when our staff and players came back from our holiday break on December 28. I produced three negative tests leading up to our game at TCU, Jan. 2. However, I decided that it was important to continue quarantining in case the virus took time to come to fruition. I tested positive yesterday (Jan. 4) and will now isolate. If I have no symptoms, I will re-join the program on January 15. While I am disappointed and hate to be away from the program, Baylor women's basketball is in good hands with our coaches and support staff. The safety of our student-athletes is paramount and will take precedent over any basketball activity during this pandemic."
Thursday's game was to be the second of a two-game contract with Baylor.