UConn woman face tough out of conference schedule to start 2016/2017 campaign.
TORRINGTON: Man, those first dozen or so games.
We should know a great deal about what this year’s University of Connecticut woman’s basketball team is going to be made of by then.
After four years of Stewie, Moriah and Tuck just about guaranteeing that just about nobody was going to beat them, it’s an entire new ball game after that trio set the bar Mars high by winning four consecutive National Championships but are now WNBA pro’s.
For the first time in a good long while, the outcome of some games may actually be in question.
Come on, really? I know, critics will say that the woman’s game is still so far behind UConn that it doesn’t matter but by the way the out of conference foes rang head coach Geno Auriemma’s phones off the hook looking for games this year, they all seem to want a shot at the champs more than ever before.
Might have to tell some of them to be careful what you ask for because you might not like just how things play out.
It does, however, lend itself to a pretty entertaining dozen games that lead up to the Huskies American Athletic Conference schedule that kicks in on January 1, 2017 when they travel to Florida to tackle UCF.
How about this list of games.
From last year’s final ranking, the Huskies travel to take on #17 Florida State (23-7) with the opening game of the regular season campaign on November 14, followed by a much anticipated match up with #4 Baylor (32-1) at Gampel on November 17.
After hitting the road to take on LSU on November 20, the Huskies host Dayton on November 22 and then Chattanooga seven days later.
The fun stuff comes next when they host last year’s #18 DePaul (25-7), a team that gave the Huskies fits a year ago with a three-point shooting bonanza.
#7 Texas (28-3) makes the trip to Mohegan Sun on December 4 after becoming a regular in the late stages of the NCAA against UConn.
Three days later, it’s time to go see Muffett McGraw and the Notre Dame Irish woman who finished right behind the Huskies a year ago in the number two spot in the polls with a 31-1 record. Their only loss, yeah you guessed it, to UConn.
A road game against Kansas State follows until the Huskies come back to Connecticut for a game against Ohio State (#9, 24-7).
The champions head to Nebraska on December 21 before rounding out this powerful opening twelve games with another top five team in Maryland (#5, 30-3). Most were surprised the Terrapins didn’t go farther in the NCAA’s a year ago but they should be a tough out.
Lingering down the road into the year is of course the team many may pick to be ranked number one this year, the South Carolina Gamecocks who finished their year ranked # 3 with a 31-1 mark, just behind the Irish.
When the New Year rings in, will the Huskies have a loss?
If they don’t, after this type of monster start, good luck to the AAC and the rest of the country down the road.
Then again, Auriemma really doesn’t care where his team is in the first couple of months, it’s where they are the months of March and April that matter most to him.