Two Gonzaga women's basketball games, Courtney Vandersloot ceremony postponed by COVID-19

<p><p>The COVID-19 pandemic has struck the Gonzaga women’s basketball team, wiping out Thursday night’s game against San Francisco and the much-anticipated jersey retirement for GU legend Courtney Vandersloot.</p></p><p><p>Also postponed is Saturday’s game at Loyola Marymount after the Lions announced earlier on Monday that they have COVID issues.</p></p><p><p>The decision wipes out the first week of West Coast Conference play for the 9-3 Zags, who have won 16 of the last 17 regular-season titles.</p></p><p><p>The news broke Monday afternoon after the team returned from a few days off following Tuesday night’s win at Eastern Washington.</p></p><p><p>Shortly after LMU called to postpone, the Zags processed their COVID-19 test results and “worked through our numbers,” Coach Lisa Fortier said Monday.</p></p><p><p>Fortier said she couldn’t reveal which players – or how many – had tested positive. However, she said the Zags currently do not meet the WCC’s requirement of at least eight healthy players.</p></p><p><p>“Obviously we’re trying to keep our team as healthy as possible,” Fortier said.</p></p><p><p>GU has 15 players on its roster. However, freshmen Calli Stokes and Payton Muma are redshirting this season and junior Kylee Griffen has taken a medical retirement but is still on the roster.</p></p><p><p>That leaves 12 active players, which means that at least five are out due to COVID protocols.</p></p><p><p>Gonzaga issued a short press release on Monday afternoon. It stated that the USF game “will not be played as scheduled due to COVID-19 related protocol within GU’s program.”</p></p><p><p>It continued: “Further, as released earlier today by Loyola Marymount, Saturday’s women’s basketball game at LMU is also postponed due to COVID.”</p></p><p><p>The release also stated that GU will be working on rescheduling the jersey ceremony for Vandersloot at a later date.</p></p><p><p>“It’s frustrating,” Fortier said. “We wanted to play on Thursday because it’s the WCC opener, but also for Courtney.”</p></p><p><p>“I was on the phone with her and she completely understands,” Fortier said. “She completely understands.”</p></p><p><p>“It would have been unfair to have this without a full team and a full crowd,” Fortier added.</p></p><p><p>Retiring Vandersloot’s No. 21 jersey has been in the works for some time; in fact, no one has worn the number since she graduated in 2011.</p></p><p><p>“It’s definitely a priority for us,” GU Athletic Director Chris Standiford told The Spokesman-Review in October.</p></p><p><p>Vandersloot is easily the most decorated player in program history.</p></p><p><p>In her senior year, Vandersloot, a three-time WCC Player of the Year, was named to the Associated Press All-America Team second team and was named the Nancy Lieberman Award winner as the top point guard in the nation.</p></p><p><p>This is the first time this season the women’s team has had to postpone games. Last year, the Zags didn’t play their season opener when Oklahoma withdrew from a Thanksgiving tournament because of COVID protocols.</p></p><p><p>GU also missed one WCC game last season because of COVID issues at San Diego. The Zags finished 16-1 in conference play and went on to win the conference tournament in Las Vegas.</p></p><p><p>Single-game ticket purchasers may request a refund from the Gonzaga Athletics Ticket Office.</p></p>