LOS ANGELES - The 2013-14 UCLA women's basketball team has once again put together a challenging non-conference schedule for its upcoming season. The Bruins finished the 2012-13 season with a strength of schedule RPI rating of 11th in the country for the entire season and that number was at No. 6 for the non-conference portion of the season.
In all, the Bruins will play eight different teams that made the NCAA Tournament a year ago, and that is up by one from last year's tough schedule. The Bruins will face another five squads that were selected for the NIT field.
After an exhibition game with Vanguard on Oct. 31, the Bruins will open the season on the road at Nebraska on Nov. 8. The Cornhuskers were 25-9 last year and reached the "Sweet 16" of the NCAA Tournament. Additionally, the game in Lincoln, Neb., will be the first women's basketball game in Nebraska's new Pinnacle Bank Arena. Then the Bruins return to Los Angeles for their home opener with local foe Pepperdine on Nov. 11.
The Bruins then host a pair of powerhouses on back-to-back Sunday afternoons. First in town will be North Carolina (Nov. 17), which went 29-7 last year before exiting in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Then comes the rubber match with Oklahoma (Nov. 24), as the two teams split a pair of games last year. The Sooners lost in the "Sweet 16" a year ago, recording a 24-11 mark.
The Bruins spend the majority of December on the road. First, UCLA heads to Naples, Fla., for three games (Nov. 29-Dec. 1) in the Gulf Coast Showcase (opponents will be announced at a later date). Then UCLA will play its first of two Final Four teams from 2013 when they make a trip on Dec. 7 to South Bend, Ind., to face Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish was 35-2 a year ago and finished ranked No. 2 in the RPI. UCLA will then head to San Diego for a game with the Aztecs. San Diego State was 25-7 last year and lost in the second round of the WNIT. The Bruins will take part in a holiday tournament in Minneapolis, Minn., for two games in the Golden Gopher Classic. UCLA will square off with the hosts, Minnesota, on Dec. 20 and then face Auburn on Dec. 21. Both of the teams made the WNIT last year with Minnesota falling in the first round (18-14) and Auburn losing in the "Elite 8" (19-15).
UCLA closes out its non-conference schedule after the holiday break with a home game against NCAA Tournament participant, Cal Poly, on Dec. 28. The Mustangs, which suffered a first-round setback, were 21-11 last year.
The Pac-12 slate will be announced in the coming weeks by the Pac-12 Conference.
The Bruins will face a guaranteed 17 of 27 regular season games against teams that made the postseason last year and a possibility of 20 of 30 games once the Gulf Coast Showcase field is set.
Last year, the Bruins advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in the last four seasons, as second-year head coach Cori Close directed UCLA to a 26-8 overall record and a third-place finish in the competitive Pac-12. A consistent team all season, the Bruins compiled four separate winning streaks of at least five games, including two streaks of six consecutive victories.
UCLA advanced to the Pac-12 Tournament title game, losing by a 51-49 margin to top-seeded Stanford, before cruising past Stetson, 66-49, in a first-round meeting of the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins’ season ended with an 85-72 setback to Oklahoma in the NCAA Tournament’s second round. The Bruins return two starters from last year, including leading scorer senior Atonye Nyingifa (11.6 ppg). The other returning starter is also a senior, guard Thea Lemberger (8.6 ppg).
2013-14 UCLA Women's Basketball Non-conference Schedule
|Thursday||Oct. 31||Vanguard (Exhibition)|
|Friday||Nov. 8||at Nebraska|
|Sunday||Nov. 17||North Carolina|
|Friday-Sunday||Nov. 29-Dec.1||at Gulf Coast Showcase|
|Saturday||Dec. 7||at Notre Dame|
|Sunday||Dec. 15||at San Diego State|
|Friday-Saturday||Dec. 20-21||at Golden Gopher Classic|
|Friday||Dec. 20||at Minnesota|
|Saturday||Dec. 21||vs. Auburn|
|Saturday||Dec. 28||Cal Poly|