Washington women’s basketball coach Jody Wynn spoke publicly Monday night for the first time since the Huskies paused activities due to positive COVID-19 tests within the program.
On her weekly radio show on KJR 950 AM, Wynn said the UW traveling squad – players, coaches and support staff who made the trip to Utah and Colorado last week – was placed into a 10-day quarantine on Jan. 6.
Since then, the Huskies have remained in isolation and restricted from leaving their residence. Players are having meals delivered to them and undergoing coronavirus tests every three days at their dorms that are administered by athletic trainers.
Wynn referenced two players as those who produced positive COVID-19 tests and said, with the exception of a loss of taste, no one has experienced anything more than mild flu-like symptoms.
Washington (4-5, 1-5 Pac-12) has postponed four straight games due to the outbreak.
The Huskies were scheduled to host No. 11 Arizona last Friday and Arizona State on Sunday. This week’s game at No. 8 UCLA and USC were also postponed.
And on Dec. 21, UW had a game against Oregon State called off due to COVID-19 developments within the Beavers program.
The Huskies are set to be released from quarantine Friday and Wynn said the UW medical staff has provided a relatively light practice plan for the first few days.
Considering the prolonged and unexpected break, Wynn expressed uncertainty about Washington being able to play Jan. 22 at Oregon State and Jan. 24 at No. 10 Oregon.
And there’s currently no plan from the Pac-12 as to how UW will play its five postponed games. The conference is mulling a three-games-per-week option that’s intriguing, but Wynn said the health and safety of players is her No. 1 priority.
Here’s an excerpt from Wynn’s radio show with moderator Elise Woodward.
(On reaction to the program being paused) “I felt bad for the kids. They worked so hard. They’ve been trying to follow all the rules and we’ve done a really great job. Our girls are obedient. They’re listening to the medical team. It’s just one of those situations. I got a phone call at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning that shut everything down. It was hard to hear. It really was because we were feeling like we were excited. We had a good film session on Tuesday very spaced out we were in the football auditorium. We had a good session. Then we tested on Tuesday and the results came back on Wednesday morning. The women are doing a really nice job. Everybody has been quarantined. We’re off for 10 days. Hopefully we all can get back out on the court at the end of the week.”
(On why the entire team is in quarantine) “Because of contact tracing. We were in Colorado and Utah last weekend and when the ladies are on the floor playing, their masks are off. Anytime we come to the bench, obviously the coaches we have our masks on and the players on the bench have their masks on. So you just never know, right. But unfortunately, through contact tracing it wiped the entire program out. All the coaches, all the staff. Anybody that was on that trip was wiped out. I don’t know if it was due to the airport or the buses or what have you. But it knocked everybody out. The sad part is, the girls – even the ones that didn’t test positive – can’t do skill workouts. They can’t do any kind of workouts whatsoever. They’ve been given by our strength coach Chris Dresher body weight stuff to do in their room. Running in place. Up downs probably. But it’s another 10 days off of physical activity. It’s going to take some time for us to get back into things.”
(On if players can go outside) “No. That’s the thing. They can’t go outside. That’s really unfortunate. They can’t go for a walk. They can’t go for a run. We’re 100% quarantined. I think everybody is going a little bit stir crazy right now. It’s definitely hard. It’s hard to do. They’ve gotten food delivered to them. We get tested every three days since the initial couple of cases. Luckily, no one else has been knocked out. But that’s the only time we can leave so we can drive into UW and sit in our cars with our masks on and take another COVID test. That’s like the highlight of our week. We get to get in the car and drive to get our COVID test. We have 8 young women that are in the on-campus dorms and none of them have cars. So we have our athletic trainer go and does their COVID test on site at their dorm. It’s definitely strange times. But I will say this, even whether the players have it or they don’t have it, everybody is in pretty good shape as far as nobody has a severe case. Hopefully, the recovery will be pretty smooth.”
(On how are players who tested positive) “Both players started with a stuffy nose. That’s what they said and really didn’t feel bad in any other way for a few days. And then eventually, the lost of taste kind of came into play and that’s when they kind of realized that this isn’t just a common cold.”
(On determining when UW plays again) “It’s a day-by-day thing. We’re going to go on what our medical team is telling us and how are players are feeling. To be able to play Pac-12 basketball at a very high level after being out for so many days, it’s going to take a little bit of time. We’re hoping to be able to go down to Oregon State and Oregon to compete. We’re remaining optimistic about that. But it’s going to be based on how the players are feeling and hoping and praying that no other positive test comes into play between now and then. Our team has done a really nice job of following the guidelines of staying quarantined. Not going outside and not doing anything other than academics, which is a blessing in itself. They can really focus and hone in on the winter quarter, which we’re in Week 2 now. We’ll hopefully start practice at the end of the week and start very, very lightly. It’s been determined that we’re going to practice at a very low level that first day. Short practice. The next day maybe proceed to a moderate level. And then maybe go back down to a lower level. Taking a day off. They’re really concerned about jumping right back into practice rightfully so. Who knows what kind of shape we’ll be in if we do get to get down to the Oregon schools, but we’re going to give it our best shot.”
(On playing postponed games) “That’s the million-dollar question because it’s not just us. There’s a number of institutions throughout the conference that have had games that are postponed. The final weekend of the regular season, we’re set to play Washington State and every other team is scheduled to play their rival. So there’s one game scheduled that final weekend and that was on purpose because there’s an open window for a postponed game to put into that slot. The Pac-12 conference, those are the people that will be determining, who gets to play who. We don’t have any say. I don’t know whether it’s going to be Oregon State, Arizona, Arizona State, USC, UCLA or somebody in the future. We have no say in that. They’re going to base it on probably NCAA tournament. Or postseason opportunity or stuff like that. As of now, there has been talk of certain teams playing three games in a week and trying to fit that in. That’s certainly something that we’d be interested in learning about. But nothing has come our way as far as that goes. … We’re just waiting to hear what our opportunities can be.”
(On playing three games in a week) “The health and safety of our student-athletes is our No. 1 priority and we never want to put them in a situation where they have more probability to get injured or sick. We’re definitely taking that into account. I don’t know if it’s feasibly possible. A lot goes into those decisions based on the health and well being of that particular team. Nothing is on the table right now. … I don’t think the Pac-12 is putting a limit on anything on anything. I know they want teams to feel like they can play as many games as possible.”
(On how players are filling their day) “I think Jayda Noble said it best to me today, she’s like ‘Man, I’m going to appreciate practice that much more when I get a chance to get back out on the court again.’ This has just been so hard when it’s taken away from you all of a sudden. You just don’t realize it when you’re sitting in our dorm room after the sixth straight day twiddling your thumbs or doing your schoolwork. Having different conversations and trying to stay connected as best we can is all we can do.”