UCSB has canceled its first three women’s basketball games of this season after learning that one of its coaches tested positive for COVID-19.
The Gauchos, who had three players including All-America center Ila Lane opt out of the season because of the coronavirus, were to play their opener on Saturday at the University of San Diego.
UCSB was also forced to scratch its home opener of Dec. 3 against Pepperdine and its Dec. 8 contest at UCLA.
A university statement said that, “Per university protocol, the coaching staff will quarantine for 14 days and will resume in-person activity when it is deemed safe by medical professionals.”
The coach who tested positive was not identified.
The Gauchos’ only other nonconference game is scheduled for 5 p.m on Dec. 11 at the Thunderdome against Cal Baptist. A university spokesperson said “schedule adjustments will be announced at a later date.”
UCSB hasn’t played a women’s basketball game since its last-second victory at Hawaii in last year’s regular-season finale. The Gauchos, who had won five of their last six games, were seeded No. 2 for the Big West Conference Tournament when the event was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lane, a 6-foot-4 freshman, was a big part of UCSB’s fast finish. She ranked first in the nation in rebound average (13.0 per game) and 18th in field-goal percentage (57.6%). She also led the Gauchos in scoring (15.3 points per game) to earn Big West Freshman of the Year and First-Team honors.
Also opting out for this year are redshirt freshman guard RyAnne Walters and redshirt sophomore guard Kiana Vierra.
“We said from the beginning we would support and respect every player’s decision regarding returning to campus or staying home,” coach Bonnie Henrickson said.
The NCAA announced earlier this year that all players who opt out of the season will retain their year of eligibility. The three absent Gauchos can remain enrolled as full-time students with full access to student-athlete support services.
A UCSB spokesperson said that all existing scholarships will be retained and honored through the 2020-21 season.