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Arizona women’s basketball to play at USC on Jan. 9

How can the league encourage more rescheduling, especially in women’s basketball?

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

Arizona women’s basketball was supposed to open its conference season on the road at UCLA and USC last weekend. Those games were postponed due to COVID-19 protocols within the LA schools’ programs. Now, one of those games is back on the schedule.

The Wildcats will travel to Los Angeles for a game against USC at the Galen Center on Sunday, Jan. 9 at 4 p.m. MST/3 p.m. PST. Arizona has an open date because its home game against Washington was postponed this week. USC is open this weekend because both Colorado and Utah are shut down.

“We were ready to play last week,” Arizona head coach Adia Barnes said. “It wasn’t shut down because of Arizona. We shut down because of other teams. So, most definitely trying to make up a game. I think the challenge is, is everybody else able and willing to make up the game?”

USC has proven to be one of the teams that is both able and willing to reschedule.

Overall, rescheduling has come slowly on the women’s side. Last weekend, 10 of 12 games were postponed. In addition, the UCLA-USC game scheduled for Dec. 28 was delayed. Despite the loss of 13 games, the only one that had been rescheduled on the women’s side was the rivalry game between the LA schools. Now, USC has taken steps to reschedule another of its lost games.

The concern is that more teams are not doing so. As Barnes noted, not everyone in the conference may be “able and willing” to make up missed games. The conference may need to step in and do something about that, especially on the women’s side where so few games were rescheduled last season.

“I think part of it is just the people in the in the programs wanting to make up the game,” Barnes said. “And I think that puts the Pac-12 in a difficult situation. And so I hope that we see on the women’s side more games made up.”

While USC was able to come to mutually-agreeable makeup dates with both UCLA and Arizona, it may take more than simply relying on the good will of all 12 teams. While the Pac-12 got rid of the automatic forfeit for games that aren’t rescheduled, the league still has the option of calling a forfeit if rescheduling is not carried out fairly.

“The Conference office shall have the option to levy a forfeit in the event league standards of sportsmanship are not met in the process of attempting to reschedule a contest,” the league wrote in its updated administrative policies on Dec. 22.

“I think that if we had to forfeit games, I think more games get played,” Barnes said. “I think on the men’s side and the women’s side. If youre going to tell a program they’re gonna have to forfeit, I think people find bodies.”

The men have the extra incentive of revenue generation. It’s unlikely that Arizona would drag its feet on rescheduling a men’s basketball home game because the sport is so important to the department’s bottom line. That’s not necessarily true of women’s games, although the Wildcats’ women’s team is a big draw.

“I do anticipate in the next couple of weeks more games will be made up,” Barnes said. “And we want to play. We want to play people and we don’t want to go look for nonconference games. Our conference is one of the best in the country. So people want to see our games. I definitely do.”

Adia Barnes speaks about scheduling and COVID-19, among other topics