By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Three regular season tournaments -- including trips to California and Hawaii -- plus 11 home games -- highlight the Willamette University women's basketball schedule for the 2017-18 season.
Along the way, the Bearcats will play seven teams from last year's NCAA Division III National Tournament. Those opponents are: Trinity University (Texas), University of California-Santa Cruz, Thomas More College (Ky.) and Christopher Newport University (Va.) in non-conference game, and George Fox University, University of Puget Sound and Whitman College in Northwest Conference action.
Overall, it is the strongest schedule the Bearcats have played in recent seasons.
"With our experience this year we have decided to schedule strong in the non-conference season to better prepare us for NWC play," Willamette Head Women's Basketball Coach Peg Swadener said. "We will be tested early, but we are all excited to see how we measure up against some of the best teams in the country."
The schedule begins with an exhibition game at University Portland from NCAA Division I on Sunday, Nov. 12. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. (PDT).
Five days later the regular season begins with the first of two games for the Bearcats at the Bruin Classic, hosted by George Fox in Newberg, Oregon. Willamette will play Trinity on Friday, Nov. 17 at 4 p.m., before taking on Southwestern University (Texas) on Saturday, Nov. 18 at 4 p.m.
The Bearcats will begin NWC play on Friday, Dec. 1 with a home game against Lewis & Clark College at 6 p.m. WU will be at home again on Saturday, Dec. 2 against NWC rival George Fox at 4 p.m.
Willamette will host crosstown rival Corban University on Friday, Dec. 8. Game time is set for 6 p.m.
After flying to Hawaii and the island of Oahu, the Bearcats will play two games in the Hoop N Surf Classic. Willamette is slated to face Thomas More on Tuesday, Dec. 19 and to take on Christopher Newport on Thursday, Dec. 21.
The final game prior to the New Year is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 30 against Victoria Island University from British Columbia.
Willamette returns to NWC action on Wednesday, Jan. 3 with a road game versus archrival Linfield College. The game will be played in McMinnville, Oregon. On Saturday, Jan. 6, WU will host Puget Sound at Cone Field House.
Following a road game at Pacific Lutheran University on Friday, Jan. 12, the Bearcats will return to Salem for a three-game homestand. Willamette will host Pacific University on Saturday, Jan. 13, Whitworth University on Friday, Jan. 19, and Whitman on Saturday, Jan. 20. After the game with Whitman, the Bearcats will have played six of their first eight NWC games at home.
Over the remainder of the NWC schedule, Willamette will play six road games and just two home games.
On Friday, Jan. 26, WU is slated to play at George Fox. The Bearcats will play at Lewis & Clark in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday, Jan. 27, but will be at Cone Field House on Tuesday, Jan. 30 to battle against Linfield.
The Bearcats will travel to Tacoma, Washington, to face Puget Sound on Friday, Feb. 2. Willamette will play Pacific in Forest Grove, Oregon, a week later on Friday, Feb. 9.
Pacific Lutheran will take on WU at Cone Field House on Saturday, Feb. 10. It will be Senior Day for the Bearcats.
Willamette's regular season schedule concludes with road games against Whitman and Whitworth. The Bearcats will compete against the Blues on Friday, Feb. 16, before playing the Pirates on Saturday, Feb. 17.
During NWC action, all of Willamette's games will be played at 6 p.m. (PDT) on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Fridays, and at 4 p.m. (PDT) on Saturdays. The NWC Tournament, which will include the top four teams in the regular season standings, is set for Thursday, Feb. 22 and Saturday, Feb. 24.