A positive COVID-19 test on an opponent’s team caused the Missouri State women’s basketball team to withdraw from the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
ESPN reports that the Lady Bears had been scheduled to take on Bradley on Saturday, but someone within Bradley’s program had tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday. Missouri State, which went undefeated in league play, was the No. 1 seed in the MVC tournament and is expected to earn a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament reportedly did not wish to jeopardize its chance to dance, and withdrew from the conference tournament rather than risk it.
Teams have to test negative for seven consecutive days prior to traveling to San Antonio to participate in the tournament. Missouri State athletic director Kyle Moats told ESPN that the decision to withdraw came after discussions with MVC officials and head coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton.
“The team certainly voiced their concerns, then they were part of the decision," Moats told ESPN. "We certainly got feedback from the team. I couldn't face myself if I didn't put us in the best position to be able to go to San Antonio and compete. I didn't want to risk that. That was my reasoning, and Coach and team agreed with that, and our school president agreed.”
"Our team is in the [NCAA] tournament. So why take the chance? I hope the [selection] committee doesn't ding us for making the decision, but we felt it was best to help our team participate in the NCAA tournament."
The Missouri State-Bradley game was declared a no-contest. The highest remaining seed, No. 2 Drake, advanced in their stead, losing to Bradley in the MVC tournament final.
"It's very unfortunate, but playing in the NCAA tournament is a priority for us, especially after missing the opportunity last season,” said Agugua-Hamilton. “Although we will miss out on what could have potentially happened for us in Moline, we look forward to the Big Dance."