The South Carolina women's basketball team will no longer play UConn on Jan. 27, according to an announcement made by the team Sunday night.
Instead, head coach Dawn Staley and the Gamecocks will make up a game against Ole Miss on the same day. South Carolina was initially slated to play Ole Miss on Jan. 2 but the game was postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests and contract tracing within the Ole Miss program.
Staley said in a press release she is aware of the importance of the South Carolina-UConn rivalry to the fans of the program but said she felt the conference game against Ole Miss has become more important.
"I have always said that our conference season and especially our goal of another SEC championship is more central to our program," Staley told Gamecocks Online. "As we approach the second half of league play next month, it has become more important to complete our SEC schedule to keep ourselves in the running for a conference title. This Thursday is one of the few dates Ole Miss has open, so, with my team's best interest at heart, I started the conversations that led us to this point."
The game on Thursday would've been the second time the Gamecocks faced off against UConn this season, the first being a game the Gamecocks won on Nov. 22.
Thursday's game was scheduled to be the last of a previous home-and-home agreement the two teams had. UConn and South Carolina reached an agreement last summer to extend the rivalry for another two seasons.
"Dawn reached out to me about postponing the series for this season," UConn head coach Geno Auriemma told Gamecocks Online. "It's a priority for South Carolina to make up SEC games, so this is the best decision for them right now. We know a lot of fans were excited for this game, but we look forward to continuing the series with South Carolina in future seasons."
Per the release, Staley and Auriemma will continue conversations in the offseason about any changes in the home/away rotations of future games.
Regardless of the opponent change, USC said that all tickets bought for the game on Thursday will still be honored.