Iowa women’s basketball adapts to schedule changes

The Hawkeyes have had six games postponed or canceled so far this season.


Grace Smith

Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder talks to her players during a timeout at a women’s basketball game between No. 15 Iowa and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021. The Jaguars defeated the Hawkeyes 74-73.

Chloe Peterson, Assistant Sports Editor

Cancellations and postponements have plagued Iowa women’s basketball throughout the 2021-22 season.

The Hawkeyes have had six games postponed or canceled so far. Iowa had to cancel three nonconference games, and a trip to Mexico, because of COVID-19 cases in the Hawkeye program in November.

The Hawkeyes had back-to-back games against Penn State and Illinois postponed on Dec. 30 and Jan. 2, respectively.

Iowa’s latest postponement came against Indiana. The Hawkeyes and Hoosiers were originally scheduled to match up on Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, but COVID-19 issues in Indiana’s program prevented the Hoosiers from making the trip.

“I just don’t know how that’s going to be made up,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said in a Zoom meeting with reporters on Jan. 19. “There’s just no time in the schedule to make up a lot of these games.”

The Hawkeyes and the Hoosiers were originally slated to play twice this season — once in Iowa City, and once in Bloomington, Indiana.

In the event that the two teams cannot find a new date in Iowa City, the game will be considered a “no contest.” Bluder said she has asked the conference to flip Iowa’s road game against Indiana on Feb. 20 to Carver-Hawkeye Arena if no rescheduled date is found.

“I don’t think that we should have to go to Indiana when they canceled our home game,” Bluder said. “I think we would’ve had between 8,000 to 10,000 people here and it would’ve been a great environment and a great opportunity to host a top-10 team.”

At the beginning of the 2021-22 academic year, the Big Ten released a policy that stated any games canceled because of COVID-19 would result in a forfeiture by the canceling team — impacting win-loss records.

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The league changed its policy on Dec. 28, stating that it would review all canceled or postponed events to determine whether it will be a “no contest” or a forfeiture. “No contests” will not modify win-loss records.

The Big Ten also said it will work with the universities with postponed games to find rescheduled dates. Bluder said, while the conference has to approve all rescheduled games, coaches and universities can attempt to find new dates.

“The conference, ultimately, has the final say in everything,” Bluder said. “I think it’s good when schools try to work it out within themselves and coaches try to work it out among themselves. Sometimes that works and sometimes that doesn’t … it’s really a combination of coaches working with administrators and then working with the Big Ten.”

Bluder worked out a deal with Illinois women’s basketball coach Nancy Fahey, however, to bring the Fighting Illini to Carver-Hawkeye Arena in place of the Hoosiers on Jan. 23.

Iowa’s original rescheduled game against Illinois was on Feb. 12 in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes and Illini will no longer play on that date.

Iowa now has just one day to prep and travel to Penn State for its rescheduled game against the Nittany Lions on Tuesday.

With all the uncertainty they’ve faced this season, the Hawkeyes have just tried to focus on controlling the controllable in 2021-22.

“I think having our own COVID situation taught us that you can’t control it,” sophomore point guard Caitlin Clark said. “You can take all these precautions and steps that you need to, and we have, but at the end of the day, it happened and all you have to do is bounce back and hope everybody stays healthy . . . You can’t control what other teams are doing.”