Oakland women’s basketball shut down for COVID

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At this point, we have all heard of programs being shut down due to a positive COVID test within the team. It has hit programs across the country from Toledo to California and this pandemic continues to affect everyone. In the past week the shutdown hit the Horizon League with Oakland men’s basketball coach Greg Kampe and women’s coach Jeff Tungate testing positive and both programs shutting down for 14 days while the teams test and contact trace. But what does this really mean and look like for a program?

For the OU women’s team, the timing seems extra inconvenient. If everyone continues to test negative and they get clearance when expected, they will only have one week to prepare for the first game against Michigan in the Orena.

The women’s team lost a lot of close games last year. That will happen when you’re a young team with no seniors. This often goofy and fun bunch had embraced their only new player, Freshman Lamariyee “Sug” Williams and had come back from the summer with a lot of progress already in place. Coaches were impressed with the early play of Kahlaijah Dean, their go to player that just wasn’t herself last year.

The Golden Grizzlies were also seeing continued progress from Junior Kayla Luchenbach who had gotten stronger while continuing both the inside and outside game they believe they can use to their advantage. And maybe most important, Breanne Beatty had come back to campus with a swagger that coaches, especially associate head coach Ke’Sha Blanton, had been looking for from their point guard. Now it will be up to the players and their mental approach to the game if that momentum will continue upon return or take a step back.

Last year the team had to overcome adversity as Tungate missed most of the season with a serious back injury. For him to now test positive becomes just another obstacle for the team. Tungate was super serious about COVID to the point that it was surprising he got it. It also shows that even the most cautious are still susceptible to the virus.

For now, all the team is able to do is have Zoom meetings and review film. It becomes a mental preparation for their Big Ten opponent and hopeful first game. They will continue to be tested and quarantine themselves in hopes of a November 16th return to in person practice.

Chloe Guingrich Credit: Jose Juarez

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