Georgia's SEC contest with South Carolina postponed hours before tip

Lady Bulldogs learned of the news Wednesday night.

As tip-off drew closer for an anticipated matchup between Georgia and South Carolina, the Gamecocks received a bit of unanticipated news. South Carolina has paused all team activities due to a combination of a positive Covid-19 test, contact tracing and subsequent quarantines.

A release by South Carolina stated that the postponement comes after Wednesday’s round of Covid-19 testing. The Gamecocks held practice on Wednesday afternoon and head coach Dawn Staley met with the media following it.

Georgia traveled to Columbia by way of two socially-distanced buses (instead of taking a charter flight as the arenas are 165 miles away from each other) on Wednesday afternoon. Georgia learned of the news on Wednesday evening, according to a team spokesperson.

Georgia stayed in Columbia on Wednesday night and traveled back to Athens before noon on Thursday, the spokesperson said.

South Carolina’s issues aren’t the first amongst SEC teams. Many other programs, along with the Gamecocks, have had to pause team activities. SEC guidelines do not state how many players are required in order for a game to be played, however, they do outline the specifications for contact leading to Covid-19 exposure.

Georgia, as the season’s midway point nears, has played 10 of its 12 scheduled games without any problems of its own. Head coach Joni Taylor recently said that the Lady Bulldogs have stricter guidelines that extend beyond what is set by the SEC.

A makeup date has not yet been determined. Georgia has two off weeks in its schedule with space to allow for make-up games — between home games against Ole Miss and Arkansas on Jan. 17 and Jan. 25 and between scheduled contests between Alabama (Feb. 4) and Auburn (Feb. 11).

This marks Georgia’s first pandemic-related postponement in conference play. The Lady Bulldogs did not play their scheduled Dec. 13 game against Radford due to similar issues within the opposing program.

The Lady Bulldogs will continue the season by hosting Florida at noon on Sunday, Jan. 10. Three of Georgia’s four next scheduled games are at Stegeman Coliseum.