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Home Sports Sport News UConn women’s basketball team ready to expect the unexpected

UConn women’s basketball team ready to expect the unexpected

The UConn women’s basketball team knows it can start its season Nov. 25.

What it doesn’t know is when, where, or frankly, how certain games will be played.

Still, just having a date to put on the calendar brought some peace of mind to Christyn Williams and her teammates.

“We’ve been here since July and we didn’t know if we were going to have a season or not,” Williams, a junior, said Thursday on Zoom. “To have that date was very exciting for us.”

Geno Auriemma and his staff intended to break the news during a team meeting, but word had already spread on Twitter and was shared amongst players on a group chat.

“We were like, ‘Oh, we know. We know,’” junior Evina Westbrook said. “We’re here, we’re excited. We know Nov. 25. Just having that date in the back of our minds, there’s a lot of sense of urgency now. We have to be ready by that point.”

Full practices can begin Oct. 14. In the meantime, the Huskies are prioritizing basic fundamental work on the court, making it a bit more challenging for Auriemma to evaluate a team that has six freshmen and a now-eligible transfer in Westbrook.

But he’s fine with that for now.

“We have time. We have two months,” Auriemma said. “I’ll find out a lot about my team. Right now, I really don’t know. I think I know, I think I have an idea. But I don’t know for sure what we have. I don’t, I don’t.

“You just don’t know what you have, and I know less than most people in the country because I’ve got seven players that have never played before on our team.”

While the schedule is still being finalized, Auriemma expects to play 20 Big East games and at least four to five non-conference contests. Until he hears otherwise, he’s operating under the assumption that marquee games against Baylor, Notre Dame, Tennessee and South Carolina are still a go, along with the Hall of Fame Challenge at Mohegan Sun Arena (Nov. 28-29).

“We haven’t heard from anybody that says, ‘Hey, we’re off the schedule, we’re not playing,’” Auriemma said. “Until somebody does that, which they haven’t, then we have those games. We don’t have the date, we don’t have the time, we don’t have any of that, but we have a commitment that we’re playing.

“Now, the way things are in the world today, things change every day.”

Several factors could complicate scheduling, including travel restrictions from hot spot states. Currently, barring an exemption, anyone who spends 24 hours or longer in one of the affected states is required to self-quarantine for 14 days or for the duration of their stay in Connecticut, whichever is shorter.

“Does that include teams that are coming here and being tested the day of the game or the day before the game? Is that the same as anybody else coming from anywhere?,” Auriemma asked. “I don’t know. We’re going to find that out. If that’s the case, then that’s obviously going to limit some travel.

“There’s a lot of scenarios out there. You have to go in the day of the game. Well, that’s great if you’re playing college football in September or October and you’re going from one warm place to another. That’s a completely different scenario if you have to fly from Connecticut to Chicago the day of the game.”

dbonjour@ctpost.com; @DougBonjour

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