SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Head Coach Jamie Craighead announced the 29-game 2013-14 Sacramento State women's basketball schedule Thursday. The schedule includes 15 home dates as the Hornets look to advance to the Big Sky Championship for the third-consecutive season.
"We're really excited about the schedule; I think we have good non-conference matchups and it will it give me a very good impression of where are strengths and weaknesses are going into the conference season," Craighead said. "We have a little bit of a break before conference where we'll have some time to regroup and practice some things and that will give us a chance to tune up and make sure we are ready to go in the Big Sky."
A highlight of the non-conference schedule will be a trip to the Pacific Northwest to face PAC-12 schools Oregon State and Oregon for the squad's first road games of the season. Craighead will be coaching against her Alma Mater for the second time as a head coach, as the fifth-year Sacramento State head coach helped lead Oregon to three NCAA tournament appearances during her collegiate playing career.
The Hornets will open the season with home games against Cal State Northridge and San Diego State, which advanced to the second round of the Women's NIT last season, Nov. 8 and 10 before facing the two PAC-12 foes. A road game at Utah Valley and home games against St. Mary's, which advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2013 Women's NIT, San Jose State, and UC Irvine will round out the non-conference season, but not before a Dec. 28 date at Causeway rival UC Davis will serve as a final tune-up before the start of conference play.
"It's a very competitive non-conference schedule and we have a lot of in-state opponents, and its always nice when we can play quality opponents and not travel too far," Craighead said. "Going to Oregon and Oregon State will be a really good trip and a chance for us to go play a couple of PAC-12 schools and see how we match up. I'm really excited about our rival game as always with UC Davis; we haven't had a ton of success there so we're hoping to change the tide."
Sacramento State will play its first four Big Sky games at home, opening against Montana State on Jan. 2 before hosting defending conference champion Montana two days later. With an ensuing home set against Northern Arizona and Southern Utah the following week, the Hornets will play only one road game (at UC Davis) between Nov. 27 and Jan. 16, hosting seven games in The Nest during that span.
The team will play its first conference road games Jan. 16 and 18 at Portland State and Eastern Washington, respectively, to open a stretch of six of eight games on the road to round out the first half of conference play. The Hornets will play in the traditional Thursday-Saturday Big Sky schedule every week of the season, as they are the only conference team that does not have to play any Monday games during Big Sky play.
The Hornets home slate will close on Saturday, March 1 vs. Idaho State before the team will end the regular season at Montana and Montana State. The Big Sky Championship will take place March 13-15 and will be hosted by the regular season conference champion, with the top-seven teams in the final conference standings qualifying for the tournament.
Sacramento State will play one exhibition game to open the 2013-14 campaign, hosting UC Santa Cruz on Sunday, Nov. 3, at 2 p.m. in The Nest.