<strong>LOGAN—</strong> Utah State women’s basketball head coach Jerry Finkbeiner announced the 2012-13 schedule Wednesday with the regular season beginning on the road at Utah Valley on Nov. 12. For the second-straight year, Utah State will begin the season away from home after traveling to Wyoming a year ago. The Aggies will play only 12 regular-season home games this season, including nine conference games.
The Aggies will play at least five teams that reached the NCAA Tournament, the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) or the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) in 2011-12, including the NCAA runner-up Notre Dame and in-state rival BYU, who both reached the NCAA Tournament last season. Utah and South Dakota both advanced to the WNIT with the Aggies taking on the Utes in the first round. New Western Athletic Conference opponent, Seattle, took part in the WBI last season.
“The 2012-13 schedule is one that is inherited. It is a challenging schedule. We hope to survive November because we don’t play at home that month. We are on the road six games in November, and come home for our first game on December 1. This is a challenging schedule – it is worthy of strength of schedule acknowledgement. There are some very good programs spotted throughout the schedule,” Finkbeiner said.
USU will play its first six games away from the friendly confines of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. After the season opener at UVU, Utah State heads to California to pay at UC Riverside on Nov. 15 and Loyola Marymount on Nov. 17. For the first time since 1986, the Aggies will play in the Great Alaska Shootout, Nov. 20-21 in Anchorage, Alaska. Utah State finished fifth in the 1982 Shootout and eighth in the 1986 Shootout. Utah State will end the long road stretch at Utah on Nov. 27.
The Aggies play their first home game on Dec. 1 against Montana State. Following the home game against the Bobcats, Utah State will take on a very tough two-game stretch traveling to NCAA participant BYU on Dec. 4 and NCAA Tournament runner-up Notre Dame on Dec. 8.
“The pre-conference schedule is highlighted at BYU and at Utah, which are two in-state rivals. We are also at Notre Dame which is a glamour game, a game that has national attention to it. Going to South Bend, Indiana is going to be a really good for our team and our program as we prepare for our own conference season,” Finkbeiner added.
After taking on the Fighting Irish, the Aggies will play their longest home stretch of the season, playing four-straight home games. On Dec. 18 USU will host UC Irvine – the third of four teams from the Golden State that USU will face in 2012-13. The Aggies will end their non-conference season against South Dakota on Dec. 20.
USU will play its eighth and final season in the WAC with five new conference members: Denver, Seattle, Texas State, UT-Arlington and UTSA. The Aggies open WAC pay against new league opponent UTSA on Dec. 29 and will end the 2012 portion of the season hosting Texas State in a New Year’s Eve battle. As the calendar turns to January, USU will play three-straight WAC games on the road against Seattle on Jan. 3, Idaho on Jan. 5 and San Jose State on Jan. 12. Utah State will end January with three home league contests and two more road WAC games.
“The WAC is all new to me. I am looking forward, as a coach, to the first time through the WAC to get some exposure against these opponents,” Finkbeiner said. “It will be an interesting first two years for our staff scheduling-wise with the uniqueness of coming in the last year of the WAC and next year being the first season of the Mountain West.”
The Aggies end January and open February with three-straight home games, hosting Idaho on Jan. 31, Seattle on Feb. 2 and San Jose State on Feb. 9. The Aggies and the Redhawks have only met once in 1980 in Las Vegas with Seattle taking the victory.
After a Valentine’s Day trip to Denver and a game at New Mexico State on Feb. 16, USU returns home for its final two regular-season contests. The Aggies will take on the always-tough Lady Techsters of Louisiana Tech on Feb. 28 and new-WAC school UT Arlington. The Roadrunners and the Aggies have never met before this season.
Once again, the WAC will play a double round-robin format. This season, the Aggies will play the bulk of their WAC schedule on Thursdays and Saturdays. This season all 10 teams will make the WAC Tournament that will once again be held at the New Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., March 12-16.
Utah State brings back seven letterwinners from last year’s squad that finished the season 21-10 for the program’s first 20-win season. USU also advanced to the WNIT for the second-straight season. The Aggies bring back two starters in first-team all-WAC selection senior guard Devyn Christensen and senior guard Jenna Johnson.
Aggie basketball tickets will be available by contacting the USU Athletics Ticket Office at <a href=”tel:%28435%29%20797-0305″ target=”_blank”>(435) 797-0305</a> or at 1-888-U-STATE-1 <a href=”tel:%281-888-878-2831″ target=”_blank”>(1-888-878-2831</a>) for more information or visit the Utah State athletics web site at <a href=”http://www.utahstateaggies.com/” target=”_blank”>www.UtahStateAggies.com</a>.