Cal’s women’s basketball season has just gone from bad to worse. A COVID-19 outbreak within the Cal program means that the team will be entering the mandatory two-week shutdown period. As a result, the team has postponed its upcoming matchups with USC, UCLA, Washington and Washington State.
After the blue and gold’s 75-59 road loss to Colorado on Friday, an outbreak forced them to postpone the second half of that road trip against Utah on Sunday. Despite the loss, the Bears looked to be trending in the right direction.
The Bears had hoped to build on that performance over the next stretch of games against beatable Pac-12 opponents to potentially find themselves in the win column for the first time this season. Instead, Cal is now scheduled to be back in action on Feb. 5, at the earliest, when the team is set to take on Utah.
Cal is no stranger to COVID-19 complications — it has had games against Washington State and Oregon State postponed this season due to outbreaks within those programs. This, however, marks the first time that the team is dealing with a COVID-19 crisis of its own.
While Cal has played eight Pac-12 opponents thus far, it has also had seven conference matchups postponed. There are currently seven games scheduled to be played after the Bears return from the pause, but they possess virtually no hope of competing in a postseason tournament due to their current 0-11 record.
Virginia, the only other winless team amongst Power Five conferences, canceled its season Friday after COVID-19 complications forced the Cavaliers to postpone six conference games. Other programs, including Duke, SMU, San Jose State and those in the Ivy League, have also canceled their seasons due to COVID-19 concerns. No indication has been made yet about whether or not Cal will opt to follow a similar course of action.
Playing college basketball during a pandemic was always going to be a tall order — the Bears have seen firsthand just how challenging it can be. The blue and gold have had to overcome many obstacles this season, and now, they find themselves confronted with yet another.
Benjamin Coleman covers women’s basketball. Contact him at [email protected].