If it were her decision, Gophers women’s basketball coach Lindsay Whalen would have the Big Ten play a conference-only schedule this season because of COVID-19 concerns.

Last month, the Big Ten announced its fall sports schedules would be conference-only before postponing all competition indefinitely last week. Another decision will come soon for winter sports.

“It makes the most sense as far as being able to get in as many games as possible,” Whalen said Monday. “We’re about the safety and health of the players and the staff.

“We all have the same protocols in the Big Ten. ... When you get out of the conference in a year like this, to me, there are just too many questions as to what each team and what each conference is doing.”

What ultimately happens is out of her control, but Whalen hopes also to be able to play more than the 18 league games the women typically play, compared to 20 for the men. Before dealing with the coronavirus, Whalen heard the conference was planning early December league games for women just like men’s teams have been doing for years now.

“You could maybe get four [Big Ten] games in there,” Whalen said about the Christmas break. “That’s a possibility if they start it Dec. 1. If that’s what [Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren] and all the athletic directors want to do.”

The Gophers, who finished 16-15 last season in Whalen’s second year as coach, have not released their nonconference schedule this year.

They are scheduled to play three games in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas from Nov. 21-23. Among the eight-team field, though, Oregon already had to back out since the Pac-12 decided last week to cancel all competition until Jan. 1.

“Mr. Warren hasn’t said that yet, so we’ll see,” Whalen said. “If [the Big Ten] were to start with games in December, I still think conference only would probably be the best bet.”

MARCUS FULLER