Stockton, Calif. - Four games against NCAA Tournament teams, nine games against participants in last season's WNIT, a trip to UConn and a home game with the Florida Gators, along with the 16-game Big West slate highlight the Pacific 2011-12 women's basketball schedule, announced today by head coach Lynne Roberts.
"I am really looking forward to our non-conference schedule this season," Roberts said. "I think we have a solid balance of both new and familiar opponents, as well as both regional and national. Clearly, one of the highlights will be playing UConn at Gample Pavilion in early November. While out on the trip east, we also will be taking on Fairfield and are looking forward to that challenge as well. We are very excited to host Florida on December 9, in the Spanos Center and hope we can attract a great crowd. We play NCAA tournament participant Fresno State on the road and also take on WNIT participants Nevada and St. Mary's. All are very solid teams and will be excellent tests for our young group."
The Tigers meet NCAA tournament foes Fresno State and UConn in non-conference, as well as a pair of meetings with UC Davis in Big West play. Six teams on the Tigers' schedule made last season WNIT, including Florida, Nevada and St. Mary's on the docket for Pacific in non-conference play. The Tigers will face three Big West teams from last year's WNIT, with two games each against Cal Poly, UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara.
The Tigers will open the campaign on Nov. 5 with an exhibition at home against the Academy of Art, before heading east to open the regular season at Fairfield on Nov. 13. While in Connecticut, the Tigers will return a trip to UConn on Nov. 15. The Huskies, ranked No. 1 at the time, came to Stockton last season as the Tigers sold out the Alex G. Spanos Center for the first time in program history.
Pacific will return home for a Nov. 19 game against WNIT participant St. Mary's, before a road contest against CSU Bakersfield on Nov. 22. The Tigers play host to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Nov. 26 and close November on the road atNevada on Nov. 30.
The Tigers will welcome SEC foe Florida to the Spanos Center on Dec. 9. The Gators, 20-15 last season, advanced to the semifinals of the WNIT. Following the contest with Florida, the Tigers hit the road for a pair of non-conference games at San Diego (Dec. 11) and Fresno State (Dec. 17). The Bulldogs of Fresno State are looking for their fifth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance in their final year in the Western Athletic Conference.
On Dec. 19, the Tigers take on Eastern Washington at home, and before Christmas, will hold a Wednesday matinee against Air Force at the Spanos Center.
Big West play opens at the Spanos Center on Dec. 29 as the Tigers meet Cal State Fullerton, before a road weekend at UC Irvine (Jan. 5) and UC Riverside (Jan. 7). Pacific holds a three-game home stand with Big West foes Long Beach State (Jan. 12), Cal State Northridge (Jan. 14) and a non-conference match-up with Seattle (Jan. 17) before hitting the road for four straight games.
The road trip begins at conference rival UC Davis (Jan. 21), followed by a trip to Cal Poly (Jan. 26) to face the Mustangs, who eliminated the Tigers in the Big West semifinals last season en route to the WNIT. The Tigers will move on from Poly to UC Santa Barbara (Jan. 28), looking to start a streak of their own in Santa Barbara after downing the Gauchos in the Thunderdome in the Big West quarterfinals last season. The road trip concludes at Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 4.
On Feb. 9, Pacific will host UC Riverside, followed by a visit on Feb. 11 from UC Irvine. After a road trip to Cal State Northridge (Feb. 16) and Long Beach State (Feb. 18), the Tigers wrap the regular season with three home games: UC Davis on Feb. 25, UC Santa Barbara on Mar. 1, and Cal Poly on Mar. 3, which will be senior day for Tigers center Christina Thompson.
The Big West tournament opens on Mar. 6, with the quarterfinals on campus sites of the top four seeds, followed by the semifinals in Anaheim on Mar. 9 at the Honda Center. The Big West's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament will be decided in the finals on Mar. 10.
"The Big West Conference again looks to be as competitive as ever," Roberts continued. "I'm not sure at this stage of the season there is a team that is an obvious clear-cut favorite, which simply means every game will be extremely competitive and a challenge. I know we are all really ready to get this season underway."
The Tigers will have seven newcomers to the roster in 2011-12, joining six returnees including Thompson, and starters Erica McKenzie, Kendall Rodriguez and Gena Johnson.