Women's Basketball Releases 2014-15 Schedule
Greeley, Colo. - Head coach Kamie Ethridge announced the release of the University of Northern Colorado's 2014-15 women's basketball schedule today. The slate begins Nov. 1 and features games against four 2014 NCAA Tournament qualifiers and five post season WNIT teams. The season marks a new era in UNC women's hoops and the first under Ethridge.
"Our 2014-15 season schedule is as challenging as our UNC program has ever faced," Ethridge stated. "The NCAA Tournament experience North Dakota, Nebraska, Idaho, and Florida Gulf Coast bring to the table will provide an opportunity to line up against teams that have competed at the highest level of post season play, a goal we aspire to achieve in 2015," Ethridge stated. "WNIT semifinalists South Florida and South Dakota State as well as WNIT qualifiers, Southern Methodist, Montana and Southern Utah round out a schedule that is as tough as nails."
Additional highlights of the schedule include, games against five regular season conference champions, including those from the Atlantic Sun Conference, the Summit League, the WAC, and the Bear's very own, Big Sky Conference. Overall, UNC will face ten teams that won 20 or more games in 2013-14, three of whom compete in the Big Sky.
"There is no question that this schedule will test our team to the utmost. Our non-conference schedule will provide tremendous competitive challenges as well as an opportunity for us to build Big Sky Conference and post season caliber toughness in our team," Ethridge said.
UNC will host 14 games in Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion in 2014-15. The season home slate begins Nov. 1 vs. CSU-Pueblo. Coach Ethridge hopes to build a very strong and dynamic home crowd and fan base.
"I am thrilled about our opportunity to pack Butler-Hancock with excitement, energy and intensity. In Stephanie Lee and D'shara Strange we have two of the Big Sky's premier players taking the floor each and every game! This team is filled with players who will compete their hearts out and who are exceptional role models for the youth of our community," quoted Ethridge. "I can't wait for our fans to have the chance to see this team play."
The Bear's non-conference schedule begins with a challenging two game road swing in Texas, as UNC will face Southern Methodist University and the University of North Texas, Nov. 14 and 16, respectively.
November 30, in an exciting Big 10-Big Sky match up, the Bears will take on the reigning Big 10 Tournament champions, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The Huskers posted a 26-7 record last season after being upset in the second round of the NCAA Tournament by Brigham Young University (BYU), 80-76.
Wrapping up non-conference road games, the Bears will travel to Florida, Dec. 17-19, playing the University of South Florida and Florida Gulf Coast. Last season, South Florida advanced to the WNIT Final Four, while Florida Gulf Coast posted a 26-8 season record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years.
Big Sky Conference action begins for UNC at home Jan. 1, in Butler-Hancock Pavillion. The Bears will host the Lady Griz of the University of Montana. Two days later, they face the Bobcats of Montana State University. The Big Sky scheduling format consists of Thursday and Saturday match-ups. The Bears will play each of their 10 conference opponents twice.
UNC looks to improve on last season's 8-12 conference record behind the leadership of D'shara Strange and Stephanie Lee. Lee enters her senior season after being named 2nd Team All-Conference in 2013-14. Lee was the Big Sky's third leading scorer last season. Strange returns from a 2013-14 knee injury that kept her out of action all season. In 2012-13 Strange led the Big Sky in scoring.
"The Big Sky schedule provides a national caliber platform for our players. It is our goal to compete this and every season in pursuit of a Big Sky championship. I am excited about the quality leadership and the potential for success that we bring to conference play this year. " Ethridge stated.
The Big Sky Conference Tournament will take place March 12-14. The league will be comprised of 12 teams for the 2014-15 season, with the addition of the University of Idaho on July 1, 2014 as a member of the conference. The 2015 tournaments will feature eight teams with no byes. Four quarterfinals will be played on Thursday, followed by two semifinal games on Friday and the championship game on Saturday. The host site will be determined on regular-season standings, with the top seed hosting the tournament.