HANOVER, N.H. – Twelve home games, a Thanksgiving Tournament in California and five New England region non-conference tilts are on tap for second-year head women’s basketball coach Belle Koclanes, as the 28-game schedule for the 2014-15 season is announced.
The calendar features five squads that qualified for postseason tournaments, four 20+ win teams and six non-Ivy rematches from last season, as Koclanes has put together a balanced slate to prepare her squad for the 14-game Ivy League season that begins in January.
“My staff and I are excited to tip-off our second season with the Big Green,” said Koclanes. “The schedule has a fluid rhythm of competition with both regional and national travel; important factors for the continued development of our program.”
The team will begin non-conference play in Hanover for first time since the 2009-10 season, when they host NJIT on Nov. 16, followed by their second consecutive game at Leede Arena against Holy Cross on the 20th.
The Big Green will head out west for the remainder of November and participate in a four-team invitational at Cal Poly with Kent State, Texas A&M-CC and the host Mustangs on Nov. 28-29. The Big Green will face host Cal Poly on Friday at 8 p.m. (EST), followed by Kent State on Saturday at 6 p.m. (EST).
The University of San Diego, winners of 24 games and an WNIT quarterfinalist last year, will host the Big Green on Dec. 1 before the team heads back to New Hampshire.
After a short pit stop in Leede Arena to host Hartford on Dec. 4, the squad will play six of its next seven games away from the Upper Valley to conclude the calendar year. Three of the four road games will be against local foes Vermont (Dec. 7), Maine (Dec. 10), and New Hampshire (Dec. 18).
The remaining road games are against Northern Iowa (Dec. 13), Niagara (Dec. 28) and Rhode Island (Dec. 30).
Prior to the Christmas break, Koclanes’ crew will host Loyola Chicago, led by former WNBA standout Sheryl Swoopes on Dec. 20.
For the first time in 38 years, the program will take a break from hosting a holiday tournament, known for many years as the Blue Sky Classic. Recent changes in the national scheduling landscape have made the tournament much more challenging to schedule.
"The tournament will always have a very important place in the history of our program and we certainly haven’t ruled out hosting one again at some point in the future,” said Koclanes. “With conference realignment and the movement of league schedules to earlier starts, scheduling has become increasingly difficult. We’ve concluded that it’s in our program’s best interest to take a break from the tournament this coming year, and reassess our options on a year-to-year basis."
Oakland University, a new addition to the schedule out of the Horizon League, concludes non-league play on Jan. 2.
Ivy play begins with the traditional Dartmouth/Harvard home-and-home series beginning in Cambridge on Jan. 10 and in Hanover on Jan. 24. The Big Green will remain at home for the remainder of the month and into February with meetings against defending league champion Penn (Jan. 30), Princeton (Jan. 31), Yale (Feb. 6) and Brown (Feb. 7).
The next two weekends will be spent at Cornell (Feb. 13) and Columbia (Feb. 14), then at Princeton (Feb. 20) and Penn (Feb. 21).
The Big Green will honor the Senior Class of 2015 against Cornell on Feb. 28, a day after facing Columbia. The following weekend will close out the regular season with road meetings at Brown and Yale on March 6-7.