Women’s basketball announces stacked nonconference schedule

The Bulls finished 19-4 last season and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before eventually falling to regional No. 1 seed NC State. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

Coming off arguably the best season in program history, the USF women’s basketball team is gearing up for a loaded nonconference schedule, which was released Friday.

Notable names include Stanford, Tennessee and West Virginia, with potential matchups against UConn, South Carolina and Oregon as well, depending on the results of various tournaments they’ll be playing in.

Of the potential 16 opponents, 11 made NCAA tournament appearances last season.

“With the caliber of team we have returning, this type of schedule will not only prepare us for league play but will give us some great opportunities to bolster our [strength of schedule] and NET ranking,” coach Jose Fernandez said in a statement.

USF will open the season with back-to-back home games against the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on Nov. 9 and Alabama State on Nov. 11. The team will then travel to Knoxville, Tennessee, to face the Volunteers on Nov. 15.

Perhaps the most intriguing matchup on the schedule for USF is Stanford, the reigning national champion, who the Bulls will take on Nov. 26 in Nassau, Bahamas.

Just before the matchup against the Cardinals, USF will already be in the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament set to run from Nov. 20-22.

Although an exciting destination, this trip will be no vacation. The Bulls will open their tournament with a matchup against Syracuse on Nov. 20, and have potential games against UConn or Minnesota on Nov. 21, and Oregon, Oklahoma, South Carolina or Buffalo on Nov. 22.

The Huskies finished last season as the top-ranked team in the country and made it to the Final Four before being knocked out by Arizona. South Carolina finished ranked sixth and Oregon ended 23rd.

To round out the nonconference slate, the Bulls will play UT Arlington, Virginia Commonwealth, Stetson, High Point, West Virginia, Mississippi and Jacksonville in the month of December, with the last out of conference foe being the Dolphins on Dec. 29.

Although the dates have yet to be released for AAC matchups, the Bulls will play UCF, Cincinnati, Houston, Temple, Tulane and Wichita State both at home and away this season.

The Bulls will welcome Memphis and Tulsa to the Yuengling Center for home-only games but will travel away to East Carolina and SMU for away-only games, making it a complete 30-game schedule.