It took plenty of time and consideration for the Vermont women’s basketball team to decide to call off the rest of its season.
“We were battling with the quarantine and the unknowns,” UVM women’s basketball head coach Alisa Kresge said. “Unknown of, ‘can we stay healthy?’ ‘What would it mean for their future if they individually got sick?’ ‘Do we have games? Do we not have games?’ The culmination of the unknown just took its toll for our players.”
It was the players that made the ultimate decision to step away from the 2020-21 season, but they did so with the support of their coaches and the UVM athletics department.
“I told them that I’m proud of them for prioritizing what’s in their best interests,” UVM Director of Athletics Jeff Schulman said. “I feel really good about the future of our women’s basketball program.”
The team concluded its season with a 4-2 record and three wins in a row, and with the NCAA blanket waiver of eligibility, the team can build on that success when next season rolls around. The waiver will also allow Josie Larkins to return to the team as a graduate student, and helped underclassman make the decision knowing a year of their own eligibility was not going to be lost.
“That was a little comfort, that they didn’t lose a year,” Kresge said.
The head coach also said she hopes students and coaches will take the opportunity to go home and try to safely see family – something no one has been able to do since last Christmas.
“It’s a lot,” Schulman said. “Being away from home, not being able to go back and see family like other students have been able to during the breaks, and just the overall uncertainty that so many of us are dealing with in different ways. Then throw on top of that trying to be a competitive Division I athlete – it’s a lot.”
The other three Vermont teams: men’s basketball, men’s hockey and women’s hockey are currently set to return from a department-wide pause on Thursday, February 4. As of right now, those teams are not scheduled to compete that following weekend.