Nebraska’s game against Michigan State, originally scheduled for this past Saturday and officially called off 15 minutes before tip, will not be made up.
During an appearance on the Husker Sports Nightly radio show Tuesday night, Husker head coach Amy Williams confirmed Nebraska attempted to reschedule the postponed game but could not come to a “resolution” with Michigan State on a date that worked for both teams.
The Huskers were off all week, as was Michigan State. Both teams were scheduled to play Saturday, Feb. 27, and then not again until Saturday, March 6.
“We were extremely motivated to want to play this game,” Williams said. “We tried to pursue every avenue we could to see if that could happen. We wanted to see if we PCR tested on this day would we be safe to be able to play the game at any point, trying to pursue any option that both sides could agree to and we just were not able to come to a resolution.”
It’s still unclear exactly what facilitated the postponement in the first place. Williams said her team—which hasn’t had a single COVID-19 related pause during the regular season—did not and has not had a positive test result returned.
The initial caution stemmed from a game Nebraska had played against Minnesota three days prior. Saturday morning, the Gophers canceled a game against Michigan that was scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 28, “due to COVID related issues in the Minnesota program,” the program said in a statement.
“That was a concern that was brought up,” Williams said. “Wanting to err on the side of caution, they made some decisions and talked to medical professionals on both sides and made the decision to cancel the game.”
After going through standard testing protocol the morning of Saturday’s game—a procedure that didn’t produce any positives—Michigan State left Pinnacle Bank Arena but did not return before the game was called off.
The Spartan athletic department recently paused team activities for volleyball and women’s gymnastics, but in the days since it has not announced any such pause for the women’s basketball program.
Nebraska (11-10, 9-9 Big Ten) had already beaten the Spartans once before this season, a 68-64 win that came in East Lansing at a time when Michigan State was ranked No. 23 in the country. Heading into the rematch, the Spartans (12-7, 7-7 Big Ten) were projected to be one of the last four teams to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Instead of facing the Huskers at PBA—Nebraska is 8-3 at home this year—Michigan State will close its regular season against a five-win Wisconsin squad that is 2-17 in conference play this year.
The Huskers will travel to Iowa (14-7, 10-7 Big Ten) this upcoming Saturday to close out their regular season. The Hawkeyes took the first meeting 88-81 with freshman guard Caitlin Clark scoring 39 points in the victory. Tip-off in that game is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT.
With hopes to still push its way off the bubble and into the tournament field, Nebraska needed both of its final two games and a few marquee wins in the upcoming Big Ten tournament. Beyond that, though, Saturday’s game was to be Senior Day for center Kate Cain and former Husker wing Taylor Kissinger.
Cain’s family flew from their home in New York for the game. Kissinger, who medically retired before the season but has remained with the team on the staff, was dressed in her uniform to go through the festivities.
“At the moment when I had to inform our team that the game was not going to be played, there were lots and lots of tears, particularly from Kate Cain,” Williams said. “That was a very hard conversation to have.”
But Nebraska kept the team at the arena and held its Senior Day ceremony in front of family members allowed in attendance.
2020-21 Senior Day Presentation https://t.co/tAn62DL4eT
— Nebraska WBB (@HuskersWBB) February 27, 2021
Other News and Notes
>> Just one note: sophomore guard Trinity Brady still is not ready to return from an ankle injury suffered in Nebraska’s second game of the season. Williams said the guard has made progress but suffered a series of setbacks in trying to return from the injury. She started Nebraska’s first two games and scored 15 points in the season-opener.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.