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Ohio State women's basketball game against Northwestern postponed by COVID-19 protocol

Joey Kaufman
Buckeye Xtra
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, member of the custodial crew disinfects the seats after an Ohio State women's basketball game against Maryland at Value City Arena in January.

The Ohio State women’s basketball game against Northwestern on Sunday was postponed after a presumptive positive coronavirus case appeared during a round of pregame testing.

A news release did not say which of the teams reported the presumptive positive COVID-19 test before team physicians from the schools “mutually agreed” upon a postponement.

Buckeyes coach Kevin McGuff said that the players were disappointed when they learned the contest had been shelved.

“They wanted to play,” McGuff said, “but they understand this is such a different type of year and decisions are being made obviously oftentimes out of an abundance of caution for both teams. So they get it. They're disappointed, but they understand.”

No date has been set for a potential makeup game. In the Buckeyes’ previous matchup with Northwestern on Feb. 1, they suffered a 69-57 loss.

Ohio State has had seven games this season either canceled or postponed, including five since beginning their Big Ten schedule in December.

The impacted games sting all the more for the Buckeyes, who are unable to participate in either the NCAA or Big Ten tournaments due to a self-imposed postseason ban, further shortening their season.

“We're anxious to play as many as we can,” McGuff said, “so hopefully we’ll get a bunch of them in down the stretch and see what we can do.”

Five games are left in the regular season, running over the next three weeks and through a finale at Rutgers on March 5.

The conference previously rescheduled a Dec. 19 game against Iowa, held earlier this month at Value City Arena, where the Buckeyes topped the Hawkeyes in a 92-87 win.

But there have been no open dates found for the four other postponed Big Ten games, including a pair against Maryland and Michigan State from December, as well as last month’s game against Rutgers.

In prioritizing which games to reschedule across the league, the Big Ten has sought for teams to play one another at least once.

The Buckeyes have already faced Maryland, Michigan State and Northwestern in previous games and is scheduled to visit Rutgers.

Holding a 12-3 overall record and 8-3 mark in the conference, Ohio State is also vying for a regular-season Big Ten championship and has for weeks remained little more than a game out of first place in the standings.

McGuff said the team plans to resume practice Tuesday following a previously scheduled off-day on Monday.

Their next scheduled game is Thursday against Purdue, which was 6-10 overall and 3-9 in the conference ahead of a game against Rutgers on Sunday afternoon.

Along with trying to maximize their schedule this winter, the Buckeyes also had been eager to return to the court after suffering an upset loss at Wisconsin on Wednesday.

Despite facing a team that was previously in last place in the Big Ten, they trailed throughout the second half.

McGuff felt the team went through a couple of good practices in recent days in preparation for facing Northwestern before the game’s postponement. He said players were attentive on both ends of the floor and were focused on turning the page.

“I really wanted to get out there and get back on the court, which is sometimes the only way to really flush the last game,” McGuff said, “but we totally understand, and we have great medical people making these decisions, and I trust their judgment.”

jkaufman@dispatch.com

@joeyrkaufman