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Lady Lions Reveal Impressive Non-Conference Schedule; Defending Champ UCONN to Visit BJC

by on June 26, 2013 9:30 AM

The Penn State women’s basketball team will put a long home court winning streak on the line early next season when the defending champion Connecticut Huskies visit the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday, November 17th.

The matchup against UConn highlights a challenging non-conference schedule that was announced Tuesday.

Connecticut has defeated the Lady Lions in back-to-back seasons, but this contest marks the first time the Huskies face Penn State in Happy Valley in over three decades.

The 12-game slate also features home contests against Notre Dame, a Final Four team last March, and Texas A&M, a team that advanced to the second round of last season’s tournament.

Head coach Coquese Washington attended Notre Dame and was an assistant coach with the Fighting Irish from 1999-2007 before coming to State College.

“When Notre Dame joined the ACC, I knew the basketball gods would have us play each other,” she said in a news release. They are a tough, tough team, and Coach [Ann] McGraw is just a phenomenal coach.”

“Our non-conference schedule was created with our fans in mind. The schedule is going to be a real treat for them, they will get to see some of the best teams in the game right here in the BJC. It’s just a wonderful opportunity if you are a fan of Lady Lions basketball.”

Before the highly anticipated game against UConn, the Lady Lions will open the season against St. Francis and Fordham. They currently have a 20-game winning streak at home, dating back to January 2012. 

Bucknell visits the BJC three days after UConn. The Lady Lions will head to the Grand Bahama Islands to take part in the Junkaroo Jam. Opponents for that tournament are not yet known.

Notre Dame visits after the tournament followed by road games at Georgetown and South Dakota State. The out-of-conference schedule finishes up with home games against Texas A&M, Alcorn State, and Hartford.

A look at ten of Penn State's upcoming opponents reveals some impressive pedigrees. Those 10 teams have 86 NCAA tournament appearances, 20 final four berths, and 10 National Championships combined.

The Lady Lions are fresh off a 26-6 season and their second consecutive Big Ten title. Last year's campaign ended when Penn State was upset by LSU in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Washington hopes the beefed-up early season schedule will strengthen the team for a tournament run later on. There could be some growing pains early on as the team looks to replace Alex Bentley and Nikki Greene, both drafted by the WNBA. Penn State will have several underclassmen on the roster, including seven freshmen.

“Although we are a young team, it’s important that we challenge ourselves early in the season. We are going to throw our freshmen to the fire right away. They are a very talented group and they will learn a lot of good lessons early on that will pay dividends as we move into conference play."

 Click HERE to see the full non-conference schedule



Drew Balis is a Penn State graduate, freelance reporter and frequent contributor to StateCollege.com.
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