Lack of answers on postponed WNBA semifinal calls for deductive reasoning

Yesterday morning the WNBA announced the postponement of game one of the playoff semifinal series between the Seattle Storm and the Minnesota Lynx, after more than one Seattle player’s COVID-19 test earlier in the day came back with inconclusive results.

At 7:15 p.m. PT, an email from the league to media members announced two games for Tuesday: game two between the Connecticut Sun and Las Vegas Aces at 4 p.m. PT, and game two of Storm-Lynx at 6 p.m. PT. Both are slated to be on ESPN2, as per the schedule on ESPN’s website (though the second game is suspiciously tabbed for both ESPN2 and ESPN3).

The WNBA has posted no information about the rescheduling of the game, and a representative declined comment today. The Storm did not return a request for comment. What the franchise did do is put out their usual pre-game injury report today: “No injuries to report. Note: additional team COVID-19 test results pending.”

Tomorrow morning will mark 48 hours since the inconclusive test results were assessed. As per the bubble protocol all season long, players who have inconclusive test results and then test negative every time after that within those 48 hours are then activated to play.

Seattle has pre- and post-game news conferences scheduled for tomorrow, indicating that they’re planning on playing, whether or not the athletes with inconclusive tests are cleared or not. That’s bold, even for a team with the depth that the top-seeded Storm has.

Last week the remaining playoff teams moved lodging locations to a hotel near IMG Academy, as students were returning to school there for the fall. Did the movement and/or the new digs cause the problem? The bubble had been functioning flawlessly since July.

More importantly, why wouldn’t the league just come out and say that they’re waiting on updated COVID-19 results and are planning for a game one just in case? Why not be as transparent as commissioner Cathy Engelbert was yesterday in announcing the postponement decision?

This is not the first time the actions of the WNBA have mystified the media and fans. Of course we’re all hoping the much-anticipated Seattle-Minnesota series can begin. But even more importantly, we pray that every player in that new residence area is safe and healthy.

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