Duke women opt out of 2020-21 basketball season

Kara Lawson’s first season as Duke’s coach has ended after just four games (Charles Krupa / AP Photo)

Duke announced Friday that its women’s basketball program will not play the remainder of the 2020-21 season because of health and safety concerns stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Blue Devils paused all team-related activities on Dec. 16 because of two positive COVID-19 tests and precautionary contact tracing measures among members of its traveling party.

Coach Kara Lawson’s team hasn’t played since a 73-49 loss to Louisville in its ACC opener on Dec. 9.

“The student-athletes on the Duke women’s basketball team have made the difficult decision to conclude their current season due to safety concerns,” Michael Schoenfeld, the school’s chief communications officer, said in a statement. “We support their decision, as we have supported the choices made by all student-athletes at Duke during this unprecedented time.  

“Duke will maintain our current schedule of competition in other sports and will continue to observe our rigorous health and safety protocols, which include daily testing for all student-athletes and are based on guidance from leading medical experts.”

The Blue Devils were 3-1 in games played during Lawsin’s first season with the program, earning wins against Longwood, Western Carolina and East Carolina.

They are the first ACC team to opt out during the winter sports season.