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UNM hoops women short on answers for upcoming season

A summer of uncertainty? You bet.

With just about everything concerning the 2020-21 season still up in the air, the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team is gradually starting to come together – meaning most of the Lobos are now in the same state.

“I haven’t actually seen them all,” UNM coach Mike Bradbury said of his players. “As soon as they get here, they go into 14-day quarantine. But they are getting here. I guess that’s a good first step.”

UNM women’s basketball coach Mike Bradbury is waiting like everybody else for answers on what might happen to the 2020-21 season. (Jim Thompson/Journal file)

Such are the days of COVID-19 restrictions. Anyone coming into New Mexico from outside its borders must quarantine for two weeks, and that includes all but one of the Lobos. Rising senior Jaedyn De La Cerda has rotated between hometown Roswell and Albuquerque this summer and won’t have to face isolation protocols.

Other current exceptions are freshmen Celine Dupont and Kathelijne van Bennekom, who remain at home in the Netherlands because of travel restrictions.

“We really don’t know when they’ll be able to get here,” Bradbury said. “It’s kind of a day-to-day situation.”

That phrase may sum up the next few months for the Lobos and many other college sports programs around the country. Team workouts are currently banned in New Mexicio and it remains to be seen when or if college basketball teams will be able to play games. Fans in the stands are another matter of uncertainty.

“Our schedule was done a long time ago,” Bradbury said, “but there’s no point in releasing it. We don’t know what the Mountain West schedule will look like, when the season might start, how many games we’ll be able to play. I don’t see any way we’ll be able to play our original schedule.”

That said, Bradbury and his coaching staff are hoping to start working with players on a limited basis soon. Assuming quarantines go well and there are no further guidline changes, UNM players could begin individual workouts Aug. 1.

“We have a plan in place,” Bradbury said with a laugh. “Whether we’ll be able to execute it, who knows? It’s going to be a very slow transition back to basketball, that much seems certain.”

UNM returns three starters (De La Cerda, Antonia Anderson and Ahlise Hurst) from a team that finished 15-17 overall, 6-12 in Mountain West play last season. Dupont and van Bennekom are among six newcomers, joining freshmen Chasity Selden, Neveah Parkinson and junior college transfers and twin sisters LaTascya and LaTora Duff.

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