The non-conference slate for Beavers Women’s Basketball was released a couple weeks ago. So here at BTD, we figured it would be worth taking a look and breaking it down, because let’s face it, the football season is shaping up to be a long one and we can’t wait to see what magic Coach Scott Rueck is cooking up this season.
The schedule features some games that will help the team figure out their starters, rotation, and identity. But don’t take that as a schedule only featuring rebuilding teams from mid-major conferences. There are two big programs coming off of NCAA appearances and two teams that made the WNIT.
November 10th - North Dakota
Last season: 20-11 overall, 15-3 in Big Sky (T-1st), lost first round of NIT
The Beavers officially kick of the season with a visit from the co-defending champions of the Big Sky Conference. Both teams will be waiting to see who steps up to replace the production provided by their now departed senior guards from a year ago (Sydney Wiese for OSU and Makailah Dyer for UND). Fortunately for OSU, they’ll have plenty of firepower to handle the Fighting Hawks.
November 15th - Utah Valley
Last season: 9-22 overall, 3-11 in WAC (7th), no postseason
Utah Valley University will march into Gil with four seniors leading the way, including the WAC’s returning leaders in rebounds per game (Sam Lubcke, C) and total assists (Mariah Seals, G). The the experience will help the Wolverines, they will be no match for the height of the Beavers.
November 19th - Notre Dame
Last season: 33-4 overall, 15-1 in ACC (1st), lost in elite eight of NCAAs
The real gem of the non-conference schedule, this game against the Irish will be tough. Notre Dame returns some serious talent led by guard Arike Ogunbowale. Fortunately for the Beavers, the Irish will likely be without All-American Brianna Turner, who tore her ACL in the second round of the NCAAs in March. However, a familiar foe will be present in Lili Thompson, who was a two time All Pac-12 performer at Stanford, but is now at Notre Dame after transferring.
November 22nd - at North Carolina Central
Last season: 8-21 overall, 7-9 in MEAC (10th), no postseason
The Beavers hit the road across the country for this tune-up game against the NCCU. The Eagles will be breaking in a new head coach, Trisha Stafford-Odum, who has made quite a reputation for herself as a recruiter, but likely won’t make her name as a coach this time against the Beavers. This game comes at a good time to get the team adjusted to the east coast before heading into a hostile environment.
November 25th - at Duke
Last season: 28-6 overall, 13-3 ACC (T-2nd), lost in 2nd round of NCAAs
This will be the Beavers second matchup against a top-two ACC team. They too return an All-American in Lexie Brown along with her sharp shooting teammate, Rebecca Greenwell. While their stars are in the back court, the Blue Devils have the size to square off with OSU as they have seven players listed at 6’2’’ or above.
December 1st - Nevada (in Maui, Hawaii)
Last season: 11-19 overall, 5-13 in MWC (10th), no postseason
The Beavers will play host again at the Maui Jim Maui Classic for the competition’s second year. First up will be the Wolf Pack, who are in transition after their coach of nine years, Jane Albright, retired at the end of last season. She was replaced by former Arizona State assistant, Amanda Levens. The Wolf Pack will have their work cut out for them in Hawaii as their only player to receive postseason accolades (an honorable mention) has graduated.
December 2nd - Utah State (in Maui, Hawaii)
Last season: 17-15 overall, 9-9 in MWC (6th), lost in first round of WBI
Another team from the Mountain West will face the Beavers in Hawaii, though likely a more competitive one. Utah State is a team on the rise after finishing in the middle of the MWC last year with a starting unit regularly featuring freshmen and sophomores, including conference freshman of the year, guard Eliza West. The Aggies are likely still a year away from being a real threat as this year’s team is void of any seniors, but they could give a scare if the Beavers take them lightly.
December 10th - San Jose State
Last season: 11-21 overall, 7-11 in MWC (8th), no postseason
The Spartans will mark the third straight foe from the MWC. They are a young team as well, with seven freshmen on this year’s roster. Gone is guard Dezz Ramos, who averaged a whopping 23.5 points per game, as well as three other senior starters. This will be a rebuilding year for San Jose State.
December 13th - Savannah State
Last season: 12-19 overall, 8-8 in MEAC (8th), no postseason
Savannah State finished in the middle of the road of the MEAC last year and now how to figure out how to replace the production of center Tiyonda Davis, who was a force on the inside, averaging nearly four blocks per game. The Tigers will also have to figure who is going to step up after the departure of six other seniors.
December 16th - UC Santa Barbara (in Portland, Oregon)
Last season: 16-16 overall, 9-7 in Big West (5th), no postseason
Both the men’s and women’s basketball ball teams will square off in Portland for the Dam City Classic. The women will face the Gauchos in their first appearance at the Moda Center (or Rose Garden for us diehards). Santa Barbara returns a couple quality players in forward Drew Edelman and guard Drea Toler who are both former Pac-12 players from USC and Oregon, respectively.
December 20th - UC Davis
Last season: 25-8 overall, 14-2 in Big West (1st), lost in 3rd round of WNIT
The reigning Big West champions come to Corvallis for the Beavers last non-conference game before the start of Pac-12 play. The Aggies feature Big West coach of the year Jennifer Gross and four all-conference performers (two of them on the first team). This will likely be more a competitive contest than last year’s 93-52 blowout by the Beavers for the two defending conference champions.
With some quality opponents featured in this schedule, particularly Notre Dame and Duke (on the road), it’s unrealistic to expect that the Beavers go undefeated with this non-conference lineup. The Beavers will have a number of questions to answer as they go through these first 11 games such as who becomes the primary ball handler and who lines up in the front court with Marie Gülich. I anticipate that they will start a respectable 9-2 before heading into the brutality of Pac-12 play.