Women’s basketball hopes to return in Fall 2021


#23 Haley Ison goes up for a shot in a basketball game at Chico State (Ryan McCasland/Chico State Sports Information)

It’s been almost a full year since the Chico State women’s basketball team played a game. Their most recent game was a playoff match on March 3, 2020 in which the Wildcats lost to the Cal State East Bay Pioneers by a final score of 53-78.

With the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases, teams can’t come back to play until it is deemed safe. However, the girls are hopeful they will be back soon.

“We’re all looking forward to and super excited about hopefully starting up more solidly in the fall,” said junior forward Haley Ison.

During this time, Ison remains physically active so when basketball does resume, she is ready to go.

“I was able to find a couple of friends at home that I could get some workouts in with,” Ison said. “Some old club coaches that I could workout with and just stay in shape.”

As of now, the school is not requiring students or staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine. With no vaccine required, it puts students and staff at risk for spreading the virus further and the possibility of being shut down once again.

Women’s head basketball coach Brian Fogel gives his team a pep talk during a basketball game at Chico State (Ryan McCasland/Chico State Sports Information)

“I think it’s a great idea if we all were able to be vaccinated because then it gives us 100% guarantee that we’re fine and we can play through it,” said freshman guard India Starr. “I understand if they can’t mandate it on everybody, if everyone has their own personal beliefs.”

Starr is one of four new recruits to the team. She has not played an in-person game yet at Chico State. But, she remains positive during this difficult time and is excited to get on the court to play with her teammates.

“I’m so thankful for my teammates and my coaches for making it a great and comfortable experience,” Starr said. “It’s unprecedented times right now. It’s been pretty hard, but never a doubt in my mind I would leave or quit the program.”

While Starr has not played a game yet, the other athletes on the team are trying to remain positive and ensure good mental health during the pandemic. Head coach Brian Fogel has been staying up to date with the team as often as he can.

“What we say in our sport is if the mind is not right, then the body can’t follow,” Fogel said. “For us, it’s a big thing in making sure that mentally we are handling the situation in the best way we possibly can.”

Alex Martin can be reached at [email protected] or @alexmartinjour on Twitter.