UC Irvine women’s basketball team cancels two games as injuries pile up

The UC Irvine women’s basketball team has been hit hard by injuries this season, but the team has weathered them — so far.

The Anteaters said they didn’t have enough available players and canceled their next two games on Friday: Saturday at UC Davis and Monday against Cal Poly.

“Because the health and well-being of our student-athletes is our top priority and due to a limited number of healthy student-athletes available, we have made the decision, in cooperation with our sports medicine team, to cancel our upcoming games against UC Davis and Cal Poly,” said UCI athletic director Paula Smith in a statement.

Games will not be rescheduled and will be declared non-competitive per Big West Conference guidelines.

The UCI’s next scheduled game is now Thursday, February 23 at UC San Diego.

Anteater injuries have been piling up for weeks, and Thursday night provided the latest.

Hunter Hernandez — the team’s top scorer and rebounder this season — was carried off after the second guard suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury in his overtime win against UC Santa Barbara in the last minute of regulation.

UCI (20-5 overall, 12-2 Big West) had already lost two starters to season-ending injuries during conference play, and by Thursday night there were immediate fears that Hernandez could become the third. The team kept their composure, dominating overtime to beat the Gauchos in third place, but the recent injury rocked coach Tamara Inoue, who said she was “a mess” after Hernandez went down.

Inoue has credited her players for how they dealt with adversity.

“A lot of people would have stopped and just let them win,” Inoue said after Thursday’s win. “This team, these players, they are special. That they climb up themselves and are there for each other and ride together – they will be very successful in life.”

“Because they just got a very difficult assignment that I couldn’t handle myself and they did it. And they won the game.”

UCI is second in the Big West, a half game behind first-placed Long Beach State (18-7, 13-2). The Anteaters shared the season series with LBSU, so the possibility of a regular-season joint title seemed realistic if both teams won.

Fans who have already purchased tickets for Monday’s game can request a refund through the Ticket Office by contacting tickets@uci.edu.

https://www.ocregister.com/2023/02/17/not-enough-bodies-uc-irvine-womens-basketball-team-cancels-2-games/ UC Irvine women’s basketball team cancels two games as injuries pile up

Russell Falcon

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