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Short-handed UCLA forced to call off women’s basketball game against Colorado

UCLA coach Cori Close on the sidelines as her team plays USC  March 6, 2020.
UCLA coach Cori Close, shown at a game against USC on March 6, 2020, said, “Our medical team made a really tough decision.”
(John Locher / Associated Press)

UCLA women’s basketball has avoided a dreaded COVID-19 postponement due to positive tests within its program, but the Bruins are now battling another bug: injuries.

UCLA won’t play its scheduled game against Colorado on Friday, citing injuries that have whittled UCLA’s already short roster to below the Pac-12 minimum of seven healthy scholarship players. UCLA said in a statement the game would be rescheduled or declared a no-contest upon review and approval from the Pac-12.

“Our medical team made a really tough decision that we don’t have enough healthy players to play our game on Friday,” head coach Cori Close said in a statement. “The health and wellbeing of our student-athletes are the priority and I trust our medical team’s decision.”

The No. 9 Bruins (6-2 overall, 4-2 Pac-12) have managed a short bench all season, entering the year with just eight healthy scholarship players and needing Dominique Darius, a 2021 recruit, to enroll early to bolster their meager ranks to nine. Junior Chantel Horvat has missed three straight games due to a lower leg injury and is day-to-day.

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Dominique Darius is facing a “win-win” situation in short term with the UCLA women’s basketball team as she makes the quick jump from high school.

UCLA lost two players, Kiara Jefferson and Kayla Owens, when they opted out of the pandemic-affected season. Two freshmen, Izzy Anstey and Gemma Potter, are unable to enter the country due to COVID-19 immigration policies, and sophomore Brynn Masikewich is rehabbing a knee injury with no timetable for return. Anstey and Potter are involved in a lawsuit to gain entry into the United States. The case is scheduled to be heard in appeals court on Jan. 15.

Friday’s game is UCLA’s fourth to be affected by a postponement this season. The Bruins rescheduled their season opener after coronavirus testing delays against Cal State Fullerton, but have not made up games against Pepperdine, which had a false positive among its program, and Oregon State, which has been paused since a confirmed positive test on Dec. 20.


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