Unbeaten Bucknell women returning after month-long pause

It has been a month to forget for Bucknell’s women’s basketball squad.

The undefeated Bison had every game in February canceled because the team has been on pause for the coronavirus.

The Bison (8-0) are one of two unbeaten teams left in Division I basketball — joining Cal Baptist, which is transitioning from Division II. Coach Trevor Woodruff’s team last played on Jan. 31 against Lehigh before positive tests and contact tracing forced them to postpone the final eight games of the regular season.

“We had a positive case following the Lehigh series back at the end of January and that put us down for two weeks,” the coach said. “We came out of quarantine when the entire campus was on pause. That shut us down for another week because there were no athletics allowed.”

Just as the Bison cleared that quarantine period, another positive test shut down the team again.

“We’ve had a hard time having more than three, four or five folks able to do anything,” Woodruff said. “We won’t be at full strength the rest of the season.”

The Bison should be able to practice this weekend for the first time as a full group since Jan. 29. Bucknell’s next game will be in the Patriot League tournament.

The conference announced Thursday it is waiving the rule that required teams to play 12 conference games to be eligible for the postseason tournament. The Bison have clinched the No. 1 seed by virtue of their undefeated mark.

The Patriot League also put in waivers to the NCAA to allow the men’s and women’s teams that won’t meet the minimum 13-game criteria that’s required to play in the NCAA Tournament. The Bucknell men have also only played eight games.

“It’s been wild, we were fortunate we got games in early.” Woodruff said. “I’d say in my 20-plus years of coaching, I’ve had some very difficult individual moments and situations, but never had a season as challenging as this.”

Woodruff is in his second year at the school after going 24-6 last year and winning the league by four games. They never got to play the conference tournament because of the virus shutdown.

“I just want our team, our players, our seniors in particular, to have a chance to play it out. Win or lose, I want them to be able to finish it on the floor,” Woodruff said. “They’ve done everything they can. Won the league last year by a record margin. They didn’t get to finish that out. They haven’t been beaten again and we’re one positive test from not being able to finish it again.”

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Follow Doug Feinberg on Twitter at http://twitter.com/dougfeinberg

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