Iowa women's basketball: Hawkeyes postpone Maryland trip to avoid potential inauguration-related issues

Dargan Southard
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY, Ia. — After going nearly eight weeks of season with just one postponement, Iowa saw its next two games wiped off the schedule Tuesday in about a seven-hour span. 

Tuesday concluded with an evening announcement that the Hawkeyes won't be making Thursday's trip to Maryland "out of caution due to Wednesday’s inauguration activities in Washington, D.C." — a decision that the Big Ten Conference supported. Additionally, "the institutions will work with the conference office to identify potential rescheduling options."

The evening news followed up Iowa's afternoon release that Sunday's trip to Rutgers has also been postponed because of positive coronavirus tests within the Scarlet Knights' program. At least a few such scenarios were to be expected in this strange season. Iowa opting to play it safe and avoid all Washington, D.C.-area tension is something else. 

Iowa Hawkeyes players wear shirts reading, "Inclusion." as they hold hands while the national anthem is played before a NCAA Big Ten Conference women's basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.

The Iowa-Maryland matchup wasn't until 4 p.m. Central Thursday, but the Hawkeyes were scheduled to fly into the Baltimore airport Wednesday afternoon. The XFINITY Center in College Park, Maryland, sits 16 miles northeast of the U.S. Capitol Building, where President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration will officially begin at 11 a.m. Central on Wednesday. 

Although a much smaller crowd is expected amid coronavirus concerns, Washington is still preparing for the possibility that violent protesters might flock to the nation's capital for Biden's inauguration, which will occur two weeks after a pro-Trump mob rioted at the U.S. Capitol.

Following Monday's comeback win over Purdue, Iowa (9-3, 5-3 Big Ten Conference) will now have nine days off between games. The Hawkeyes will next take the court Jan. 28 against Northwestern.       

Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at msouthard@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.