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Arizona women’s basketball game at USC postponed due to COVID-19 protocols within the Trojans’ program

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 15 Women’s - Texas Southern at Arizona Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Although their Jan. 2 game at UCLA was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols within the Bruins’ program last week, there was still hope that the fourth-ranked Arizona Wildcats would be able to start their Pac-12 season on Dec. 31 at USC.

That hope was put to rest Monday when the Women of Troy postponed the game due to COVID-19 protocols within their program. The two teams will work to reschedule the game, but none of Arizona’s five postponed conference games were rescheduled last season.

Arizona has not played a game since its Dec. 17 win at NAU. The Wildcats canceled their final nonconference game, scheduled for Dec. 19 against Texas at the Pac-12 Coast-to-Coast Challenge in Las Vegas.

The game was canceled on Dec. 18, which gave the Wildcats 13 days to complete quarantine and return to the court. The standard quarantine is 7-14 days from the last known close contact of a probable or confirmed case. Close contact is defined by the CDC as being within six feet for more than 15 minutes.

The Wildcats have completed 10 games so far this season. With the NCAA still requiring 25 games to be eligible for the NCAA Tournament, they need to play at least 15 during the Pac-12 regular season and tournament to qualify.

The Pac-12 reverted to an 18-game conference schedule for the women this season after scheduling 22 last year. With two games already postponed and no built-in gaps in the schedule to accommodate rescheduling, it puts the Wildcats up against the wall in terms of meeting the current requirement. The NCAA committee is still discussing whether to lower the limit again. Last year, teams had to play 13 games to qualify for championship participation.