Jessica Hill/Associated Press
The Connecticut women’s basketball team won’t be tipping off the season this week.
The school announced a member of the program tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the Huskies to pause team activities for at least 14 days.
They were scheduled to play Quinnipiac on Saturday and then either Maine or Mississippi State on Sunday in the Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge. Their Dec. 4 encounter with Louisville has been canceled as well, while the conference meeting with Seton Hall on Dec. 6 has been postponed.
Connecticut is back in the Big East, having left when the conference dissolved in 2013.
The level of competition will be higher in the Big East compared to the AAC, but many expect UConn to not only claim a conference title but also challenge for the Final Four. Geno Auriemma’s squad sits third in both the Associated Press Top 25 and Coaches Poll.
The Huskies lost Megan Walker and Crystal Dangerfield from their 2019-20 roster, but they welcomed in a freshman class that included Paige Bueckers, Aaliyah Edwards and Mir McLean. Evina Westbrook is eligible to suit up as well after having redshirted due to her transfer from Tennessee.
Expectations are particularly high for Bueckers, who has already built a national profile after racking up a number of individual accolades and assembling an impressive highlight reel.
The Hopkins, Minnesota, native was one of two freshmen along with Louisville’s Hailey Van Lith to be named to the Naismith Player of the Year watch list.
With Monday’s announcement, the earliest UConn will suit up is Dec. 15 against Butler.