UNH women’s basketball: Shorthanded Wildcats deal with Covid-19 in losses to UMBC and NJIT



Evan Mullings, Sports Writer

For the week of Jan. 31, the University of New Hampshire (UNH) saw a record-breaking 476 positive Covid-19 test results as students have begun their spring semester. 

The UNH women’s basketball team was hit hard during the surge.  

Games against UMass Lowell (Jan. 31) and UMBC (Feb. 5) were postponed due to COVID-19 protocols within the Wildcats program. Nearly the entire team and three coaches including head coach Kelsey Hogan were affected.  

“These last couple of weeks have been difficult. Some other people have been stepping up into opportunities through this adversity but thankfully and most importantly everybody is healthy,” Hogan said.  

The Wildcats were able to return to the court on Feb. 6 against UMBC (3-15, 2-6), just one day after they had their second consecutive game postponed. That being said, there were still several absences including four of five starters that left the team with a rotation of just seven players. There was also just one coach in attendance.  

The ‘Cats struggled to find a rhythm offensively in the fourth quarter, getting outscored 23-4. Hogan attributes the tough quarter to the Retrievers altering their defensive strategy. 

“UMBC did a great job of switching into a zone which we struggled with even trying to get the ball into the high post, taking care of the basketball, and getting high-quality shots,” explained Hogan. 

It was a valiant effort from the shorthanded rotation but ultimately UNH was defeated 57-52. Two sophomore guards played well in the loss as Adara Groman tallied a team-high 14 points, while Bella Stuart notched 12 points and four blocks.  

Just three days following their loss to UMBC, the Wildcats traveled to Newark, N.J. to take on the NJIT Highlanders (6-5, 11-11). It was a relatively close game throughout as UNH went into the fourth quarter trailing 42-41 but it was another tough fourth quarter for the team. This time getting outscored 22-7 in a 64-48 loss.  

On the bright side of things, the Wildcats were very happy to welcome back three guards: graduate student Amanda Torres, senior Sophia Widmeyer and junior Helena Delaruelle. Torres led the team with 13 points in her return to the floor.  

Despite the challenging last few weeks, Hogan knows that there is still some time to build momentum down the stretch.  

“There’s no better time than right now to turn it around,” Hogan explained. “We’re trying to stay believing and positive, making sure that we’re getting better every day.” 

One positive note is that there have now been four consecutive games that the Wildcats have had three or more players in double digits. Hogan puts an emphasis on getting everybody involved in the offensive game plan. 

“We’re at our best when it’s more team-oriented and the scoring is more balanced and that’s why I’m looking forward to getting back to that stretch of having everybody back,” said Hogan. 

Minute limitations will start to be pulled back as the Wildcats get closer to full recovery.  

Photo courtesy of UNH Athletics