SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State women's basketball program and sixth-year head coach Bunky Harkleroad announced the 2018-19 women's basketball schedule today.
The 2018-19 schedule includes 29 games, comprised of 15 at home, 10 on the road, and four on neutral floors.
Sacramento State's schedule starts with nine non-conference contests, five of which will take place at the Nest. The Hornets' home opener is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 11 against Cal Poly.
For the first time in program history, the Sacramento State will host a Big 10 team when they take on the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Nest on Friday, Nov. 16. It is the program's first matchup against a Big 10 program since the 1994-95 (also Ohio State) season and their third overall.
It is just one of two Big 10 games on the schedule for the Hornets this year, as they will also face Illinois on Nov. 24 at the Cal Poly Invitational. They will also play Pepperdine on Nov. 23 as a part of that tournament.
The rest of the non-conference schedule includes three straight home games against Antelope Valley (Dec. 1), San Francisco (Dec. 5), and causeway rivals, the UC Davis Aggies (Dec. 7). The three-game home stand is the longest of the season for Sacramento State, and one of two during the season, with the second coming late in the conference portion of the schedule.
The Hornets will conclude the non-conference portion of the schedule with a tournament at New Mexico, where they will face the host Lobos (Dec. 19) and the Hampton Pirates (Dec. 20).
Different from previous years, Sacramento State will play 20 Big Sky Conference games, featuring the usual Thursday-Saturday matchups, although the Hornets will also play one Monday night game. That game, scheduled for Monday, Feb 11, is also a doubleheader with the Sacramento State men's team, who will play that same night at 7:30 p.m.
With the departure of North Dakota from the Big Sky, the conference now has 11 teams. Each team in the conference will play the other 10 teams twice, resulting in a 20-game conference schedule. The Big Sky has not used a 20-game conference schedule since the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.
The Hornets open the Big Sky schedule on the road as they travel to Northern Colorado for a Dec. 29 matchup. The Hornets ended the regular season in Northern Colorado last year.
Following that one-game trip, Sacramento State returns to the Nest to host the Montana schools, taking on Montana on Jan. 3 and Montana State on Jan. 5. Last season, Sacramento State beat both teams on their trip out to Sacramento.
The team has another one-city trip next as they take on Idaho State on Jan. 12 before returning home to host Northern Arizona and Southern Utah on Nov. 17 and 19. Last season, Sacramento State's two games against the Lumberjacks and Thunderbirds were two of the most exciting all season. Sacramento State fell to Northern Arizona, 95-90 in overtime, but witnessed on of the program's all-time great scoring performances by Maranne Johnson (41 points, nine rebounds, six steals). Against Southern Utah, the Hornets won 79-77 on a Justyce Dawson buzzer beater in the home finale and Senior Day.
The rest of January includes a trip to Idaho (Jan. 24) and Eastern Washington (Jan. 26) before finishing at home against Idaho State (Jan. 31).
The Hornets will host Weber State on Feb. 2 before making their third and final one-city conference trip of the season to Portland State (Feb. 7).
On Feb. 11, Sacramento State will host Northern Colorado at a special 5:05 pm start. The men's team will also play that night, as they host Portland State at 7:30 for a Hornets men's and women's doubleheader.
The team will then embark on a three-city road trip, its longest of the season. They will travel to Southern Utah (Feb. 14), Northern Arizona (Feb. 16), and Weber State (Feb. 20). Immediately following their longest road trip, the Hornets will return to Sacramento for their longest homestand. On Feb. 23, they will host Portland State before welcoming Eastern Washington on Feb. 28.
Sacramento State's only home game in March is also their last home game. They will host Idaho on March 2 for the home finale and Senior Day at the Nest. The regular season concludes on the road as the Hornets travel to Montana (Mar. 7) and Montana State (Mar. 9).
The Big Sky's postseason tournament, played in Reno in each of the last three years, will now be played in Boise, Idaho. Both the women's and men's tournaments will take place at Boise's CenturyLink Arena from March 11-16. This is the first of three straight years that the tournament will be held in Boise, and all 11 teams qualify for the event.
The 2018-19 Sacramento State women's basketball team features nine returners, including last season's leading scorer, Hannah Friend. Friend led the team and finished with the program's eight-highest single season points per game with 17.5. Also returning is Kennedy Nicholas, who led the team with 7.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.
The team also welcomes eight newcomers to the roster, including four freshmen, one junior college transfer, two international transfers, and one Div. I transfer. The full roster features 17 players, including one senior, seven juniors, four sophomores, and five freshmen. The entire coaching staff from last season returns, led by head coach Bunky Harkleroad (sixth season) and assistant coaches Bill Baxter (eighth season), Derrick Florence (sixth season), and Jessica Kunisaki (third season).