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Utah women’s hoops will play in Pac-12 Tournament after COVID scare, but will do so short-handed

Tenth-seeded Utah will face No. 7 seed Washington State on Wednesday night in Las Vegas

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Utes head coach Lynne Roberts gives instructions to her players, in PAC-12 basketball action between the Utah Utes and the Stanford Cardinals at the Jon M. Huntsman Center, Friday, February 14, 2020.

After its play in the Pac-12 Tournament this week was put in doubt on Sunday, the University of Utah women’s basketball team will participate in the event, albeit short-handed.

An athletic department spokesperson on Monday afternoon told The Salt Lake Tribune that, after contact tracing and testing in the wake of Sunday’s regular-season finale was canceled due to COVID-19, the 10th-seeded Utes will travel to Las Vegas on Tuesday ahead of a first-round contest against No. 7 seed Washington State on Wednesday at Michelob Ultra Arena (6 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).

The same spokesperson told The Tribune that Utah will play without a full roster, but declined to elaborate on how many players will be available.

Sunday morning, less than two hours before the Utes’ regular-season finale was scheduled to tip off against Colorado at the Huntsman Center, the athletic department announced the game was canceled due to COVID-19 issues within the Utah program.

The news release gave no indication of a program pause or shutdown, but the timing of the cancellation put Utah’s postseason in doubt.

Utes head coach Lynne Roberts said last week on a Zoom call with reporters that the Utes would travel to Las Vegas on Monday. Travel has been backed up to Tuesday in the wake of the COVID issues.

The Pac-12 previously announced that in the event one or more teams cannot play in the conference tournament, the bracket will be modified and the remaining teams reseeded. The bracket will become final on Tuesday at noon. If a team needs to drop out after Tuesday at noon, the bracket will not be modified and the opponent of the team dropping out will receive a bye into the next round of the tournament.

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