SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – With 12 games against 2014 postseason teams, the UCSB women's basketball team faces a challenging schedule for the 2014-15 season.
UCSB's game with LSU is the marquee feature of the home schedule, while Stanford will be perhaps the Gauchos' most challenging matchup on the road. The Lady Tigers reached the Sweet Sixteen last year, while the Cardinal was a Final Four participant.
"Obviously, this will be a challenging schedule for our young team with multiple postseason teams from last year," head coach Carlene Mitchell. "But we're excited to give our fans the opportunity to see us compete with elite caliber teams from BCS conferences."
The Gauchos will once again host an exhibition game in the Thunderdome before the start of the regular season. This year, UCSB will take on Occidental College on Nov. 9 in the preseason game before it officially opens the 2014-15 campaign at Nevada (11/14).
It will be just the second time that the Gauchos will face the Wolf Pack in Reno since Nevada left the Big West in 2000.
Three days later on Monday Nov. 17, the Gauchos will officially open their home schedule with Idaho -last season's Western Athletics Conference champion- at 7p.m. They will stay in the Thunderdome for the following game on Nov. 20 when they host Santa Clara. Last season, UCSB picked up its first road win of the season with a 67-62 victory over the Broncos.
Following a road swing through the Grand Canyon state, where the Gauchos will face Northern Arizona (11/23) and Arizona (11/25), UCSB will return home to face Army in the Thunderdome for the first time ever. The Black Knights earned an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament after winning the Patriot League. The game will also mark just the second time in history that the program has played a US service academy. UCSB previously beat Air Force 65-57 back in 1981.
The Gauchos will then face Washington State on Dec. 4 in the teams' second meeting ever. UCSB won its first bout with the Cougars back in 1999 with an 89-73 score. Last season, WSU competed in the WNIT.
After a stop at San Diego State (12/7), the Gauchos will return to the Thunderdome to play Pepperdine (12/12) and LSU (12/19). UCSB has played the Waves twice in the Carlene Mitchell era and has won both contests. The Gauchos will have one its toughest matchups versus the Lady Tigers, as LSU has competed in the NCAA Tournament 24 times, including a Sweet Sixteen berth a year ago.
UCSB will wrap up its nonconference schedule with a three-game road trip which includes stops at powerhouse Stanford (12/28), Seattle (12/31), and CSU Bakersfield (1/6). With the Gauchos' game against the Cardinal, it will be the team's first trip to Palo Alto since the 2006-07 season when Stanford successfully defended their home floor with an 84-59 win. Last season, Stanford danced its way to the Final Four before falling to the eventual national champion Connecticut. Bakersfield is coming off its first ever WNIT berth entering this season.
On Jan. 10, UCSB will return to the Thunderdome and open their conference season with Cal Poly. This is the third time in four years that the Gauchos will tip-off Big West play with its rival. UCSB will follow up that game on Thursday Jan. 15 when they will take on Long Beach State.
A few of the marquee conference home games include: the reigning Big West champion Cal State Northridge (2/14) and Hawai'i (3/5), which will also be UCSB's home schedule finale.
Aside from Northridge- which earned the conference's automatic bid into the 2014 NCAA Tournament- Cal Poly and Hawai'i are the other two Big West teams to play in last year's postseason, as both were invited to the WNIT.
UCSB's bout with the Matadors will open a three-game home stand where the Gauchos will also face UC Riverside (2/19) and Cal State Fullerton (2/21).
To view the 2014-15 schedule in its entirety, click here.
Times are subject to change, so be sure to check back to UCSBgauchos.com for up-to-date information on the 2014-15 schedule.