Eastern Michigan women's hoops cancels two games, including vs. UM, due to COVID

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

The Eastern Michigan women's basketball team is taking a pause, announcing Thursday the cancellation of its next two games.

No reason was given by Eastern Michigan and texts weren't immediately returned by university officials. But Michigan, an upcoming opponent, was told the reason was COVID-19.

Eastern Michigan women's basketball, coached by Fred Castro, is on pause because of COVID-19.

The latest COVID-19 surge has caused cancellations in the NBA and NHL in recent weeks, the NFL has had several outbreaks including with the Lions, and several high-profile college-basketball games have fallen victim, too, most notably Ohio State-Kentucky men this weekend. Ohio State has shut down indefinitely because of a COVID-19 outbreak. The majority of the fall sports schedule was unscathed.

This is the second consecutive season Eastern Michigan's athletic department has been forced to shut down a program because of the coronavirus. Both the EMU men's and women's basketball teams were on pause for extensive periods during the 2020-21 season.

Eastern Michigan women are canceling upcoming games at IUPUI (Saturday) and Michigan (Wednesday). With Mid-American Conference play scheduled to start Dec. 29 at home against Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan will not make up the nonconference contests.

Eastern Michigan, under fifth-year coach Fred Castro, is 3-4.

The Michigan women (10-1) play a marquee game against No. 5 Baylor in Connecticut on Sunday and then Ohio State on Dec. 31, but without the game against EMU, there's no contest in between. Michigan officials likely are looking for a replacement game, with a deadline looming late this week to book a new opponent.

The EMU cancellations mark the first in Division I basketball in Michigan this season, after most programs, men and women, dealt with the coronavirus in some way, most with shutdowns, last season. In a most extreme case, the Michigan hockey team pulled out of the NCAA Tournament because of COVID-19.

The entire Oakland men's basketball team, having seen fellow Horizon League member Cleveland State shut down with COVID-19, received booster shots this week.

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Twitter: @tonypaul1984