‘We know how to deal with it’: After three weeks of shutdown due to COVID-19, UW women’s basketball returns to action

Haley Van Dyke has no time to feel sorry for herself or regret.

Still, no one would blame the Washington women’s basketball star if she expressed disappointment after the Huskies were forced to shut down the program for three weeks following a COVID outbreak.

The timing was unfortunate given that UW (5-3) were on a three-game winning streak and apparently discovered a winning formula under new coach Tina Langley.

However, Van Dyke understands the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the sports world and society in general over the past three years.

“I don’t think any of us really had that thought (woe to me) because it’s sort of happening all over the country right now,” she said this week in a Zoom interview. “It’s just something that everyone has to deal with and that everyone has to face. I think our team did a really good job of staying positive this time around and not having those thoughts.

“We always do our best to control what we can control.”

That’s good advice for Washington, who is renewing his season and coming back from a 25-day layoff Friday with a Pac-12 opener at UCLA (5-4, 0-1 Pac-12).

The game will be played without fans at the Pauley Pavilion after UCLA’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force determined that all indoor track and field competitions will be limited to families of team members until the 21st. January.

The Bruins, who have played the fewest games of all Pac-12 teams except UW, missed three weeks and saw six games canceled due to COVID.

In its first comeback, UCLA lost 71-63 to Colorado on Sunday in its first conference game.

The Huskies returned to the field on Tuesday for their first practice and it is true that Langley is unsure of their performance on Friday in their first game in three weeks.

“We’re still practicing right now and trying to figure out where each one is individually,” she said. “Everyone did their best in every individual situation they found themselves in. ”

Given the schedule hiatus, it’s inconceivable that Washington will look like the team that dominated Nevada in a 58-42 blowout in their last outing.

“Where are we physically? Langley said. “I don’t think we can find out until we’re on the ground.”

Before the Huskies suspended their activities, they had several offensive problems. UW is last in the Pac-12 in scoring (57.9 points per game) and turnovers (21.1).

Defensively, Washington is first in the conference for the opponent’s three-point shooting percentage (25.5%) and fourth for points allowed (56.9).

“We’re going to use this as an opportunity to assess where we are at again,” Langley said. “We watched a movie about how we played before we fell. Dude, the growth of this team is pretty huge. So we want to remember where we were and try to recover there as best we can. ”

Last season, the Huskies had seven games postponed or canceled due to COVID and the team was shut down for three weeks after several players tested positive for the virus.

“It made things a little easier,” Van Dyke said when asked if last season prepared the Huskies for their recent stoppage. “We’re kind of used to this COVID thing. It has been going on for almost three years at this point.

“We know how to do it. We could work in our homes. They brought us bikes. They brought us equipment. We had more resources to keep working out and staying fit during the time we couldn’t get into the gym. In that sense, we were better prepared for this this year.

Langley added, “Adversity is a chance for growth. While there were times when we couldn’t grow up as a team and be together on the pitch, I think our culture grew during that time. I thought you could see us really leaning into our values ​​and growing in our camaraderie during the time we couldn’t be together on the pitch.

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