March 7 was the last time people got to see Arizona women’s basketball during its 88-70 loss to eventual Pac-12 tournament champion Oregon in a semifinal game at Las Vegas.
A lot of time has passed since that game, and a lot has happened in the “new-normal” world we are living in due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Recently, the Pac-12 and Big Ten conferences announced the cancellation of all fall sports and moving them into the spring semester. In addition, the college basketball season for both men’s and women’s basketball will be postponed until the beginning of the 2021 calendar year.
Local media had the chance to talk with Arizona coach Adia Barnes and hear her thoughts about the postponement of the season and much more.
Here are the top three things said by Barnes during Friday’s ZOOM conference with the media:
1. On the level of optimism of the 2020-21 basketball season:
“It’s unprecedented times. I did not think in August we would be in the same situation we were in March. I’m a little more optimistic at this point because at least we have a date. At least our players are coming back. So I’m super excited to see the players’ faces. Still, we don’t have a lot of answers, but at least we have our players back. We are going to be able to start lifting and being on the court in the next couple of months, so I think it is good for the players to be here and have some kind of normalcy.”
2. On the date of Jan. 1 being a realistic start time for non-conference games:
“I do think so. I wasn’t surprised at all, given the situation and what we’re dealing with. Still, it wasn’t about the date being moved to Jan. 1 because I just thought, ‘How do you have kids play right now in the middle of the pandemic when the numbers aren’t going down?’ I think that is the main thing: we care about our athletes, so we have to do what’s right. I think we can still play a non-conference. (Arizona AD) Dave (Heeke) and I have talked a lot about it; we’re very optimistic about it because to me, what’s the problem with pushing everything back? It’s already pushed back.”
3. On how a reduced non-conference schedule would look like:
“There are so many questions, I have no idea. However, we are pretty much regional anyway, so we don’t have one game that’s across the country. So for us if we played a non-conference we can drive to L.A. We have a tournament in L.A. We have a tournament in Vegas. We’re already regional; we try to do that strictly anyways because of cost in the non-conference. We don’t want to be traveling across the country if we don’t have to. I think that some of that stuff might take care of itself because, for instance, we have Chicago State coming back; they’re doing a return to us. I don’t think they’ll be able to fly this far. That might be the three games we need to eliminate. And for me, I want to play in the non-conference because we have a strong non-conference schedule. I want to play a strong non-conference to get ready for the Pac-12.”
Here is the full press conference with Barnes including her thoughts on what is going on and the potential for a 2020-21 women’s basketball season among other topics: