ORONO – Just like its football counterpart, the UMaine women’s basketball team has started practice this week in preparation of the upcoming season. As of Friday, there is no guarantee the team will be able to travel to its first game.
UMaine is currently not sponsoring any out of state trips for students or faculty. The team would require an exemption to play road games, as of Friday. Additionally, any Maine resident traveling to a state other than Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, or Vermont, is required to quarantine for 14 days upon return. Teams would need an exemption from that rule as well to able to complete the season, and attend classes regularly.
All UMaine winter teams, including the women’s basketball team, continue to await guidance from the state to govern how home games will be held. In Maine’s Stage Four of Reopening the Economy, 50 people are allowed for indoor athletic activities.
Those teams must also secure adequate COVID-19 testing. The NCAA currently recommends three tests per week for indoor high risk transmission sports, like basketball, but that number can be amended based on each school.
Our players come to the University of Maine come from all around the world because they love the state of Maine and they love to represent the state of Maine, and they love to represent our university, and I think we do a pretty good job of that, so I’m hoping we have that opportunity on November 28,” said Amy Vachon, UMaine women’s basketball head coach.
The Black Bears are scheduled to open the season as a part of the Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge, which will now be held as a bubble format at the Mohegan Sun resort in Connecticut with Mississippi State, UConn, and Quinnipiac. UMaine’s first scheduled game, on Nov. 28, is against Mississippi State, one of the top teams in the country.
“Some of our kids haven’t play in a long time, we have five freshman, they’ve never played, it’s more about, this year, getting that game experience than it is focused on that strength of schedule,” said Vachon.