JONESBORO — Matt Daniel is trying to find another game for Arkansas State’s women’s basketball schedule.
The Red Wolves (4-1) have been off two weeks since they defeated Champion Christian. They learned Tuesday that they won’t play Louisiana-Monroe this week because of COVID-19 issues within the Warhawks’ program.
The next scheduled games are Jan. 8-9 against Texas State at First National Bank Arena, although Daniel is looking for an opponent who could play the Red Wolves early next week.
“I’m trying to find another game for Monday, and we had to do it on Monday because we had to meet testing protocols,” said Daniel, ASU’s head coach. “We’re trying to squeeze in the Monroe games somewhere in the conference schedule to get as many games as possible.
“If I find a game on Monday, we reschedule the Monroe games and we’re able to play all 18 (Sun Belt games), we will have played 24 games in the regular season for a 25-game schedule. That’s a miracle at this point.”
With the two home games against ULM being pushed back until a later date, Daniel said the Red Wolves have had four games canceled or postponed. The NCAA eliminated four games when the season was pushed back, he said, and then games against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Grambling were canceled.
“We’ve had a favorable schedule obviously,” Daniel said, “but at this point any schedule is a good schedule.”
The Red Wolves returned from their Christmas break on Saturday.
Daniel said senior forward Peyton Martin, who had knee surgery earlier this month, may be able to return before ASU hosts Texas State. Martin, the Red Wolves’ second-leading scorer at 10.4 points per game, was expected to begin non-contact drills during Wednesday’s practice. She might be able to play in a limited role if the Red Wolves add a game Monday, Daniel said.
Junior guard Jada Stinson, a transfer from Memphis, is ASU’s leading scorer at 13.6 points per game. Daniel said junior forward Karolina Szydlowska “is starting to come into her own a little bit” and junior forward Talia Roldan is making strides after limited practice time before the season.
Preseason All-Sun Belt guard Jireh Washington is averaging 9.6 points per game. “Since she’s come back from Christmas, it’s like a light bulb has gone off and she’s been great in practice,” Daniel said.
ASU has won four in a row since losing its opener to Arkansas-Pine Bluff, defeating SIU-Edwardsville, Williams Baptist and Champion Christian twice.
“I think we’ve made a little bit of progress and we’re starting to add, because of making sure we’re keeping people socially distanced, individual work every day where they’re in really small groups on top of practice time,” Daniel said. “We’re approaching this as a trial year, too. Everybody is in an unknown situation and if we do our individual workouts for the next three months every day, we can’t help but get better.”