Four games against teams that reached postseason play last season highlight the 2019–2020 Valparaiso University women’s basketball nonconference schedule, as unveiled Monday by head coach Mary Evans.
“When we were putting together this year’s schedule, we wanted a set of games that was going to challenge our team,” Evans said. “We also wanted a schedule that would provide opportunities for us to grow as a team, as we learn to finish games and win games.”
The slate opens on Nov. 10 with a neutral-site game against a power conference opponent, as Valpo travels to a fellow Lutheran institution in Wittenberg University to take on Ohio State, which reached the WNIT last season. A road trip up north the next weekend follows, with games at North Dakota State (Nov. 15) and North Dakota (Nov. 17) on the docket.
The four-game stretch away from the Athletics-Recreation Center to open the regular season comes to a close Nov. 21 at Northwestern, which won 21 games a season ago and advanced to the championship game of the WNIT. The home schedule opens up Sunday, Nov. 24 as Valpo welcomes Bowling Green to the ARC.
Valpo’s third nonconference game against a postseason team from last year comes on Nov. 27, as the Brown and Gold play at Toledo, which won 21 games last year and won a game in the WNIT. A Thursday morning matinee at Detroit on Dec. 5 precedes a three-game homestand.
Valpo returns home to the ARC when UIC comes to town on Sunday, Dec. 15. Two nights later, Morehead State — a second-round WNIT team that won 22 games last year — visits the ARC on Tuesday, Dec. 17.
“Earning a postseason bid is one of our program’s goals, something we’ll be working toward all season long,” Evans said. “Playing teams that have had that success — teams that have a tradition of reaching the postseason — will show us what it takes to reach that level and will challenge our team to rise to that level of competition.”
Following Christmas, Valpo closes its nonconference home schedule against Chicago State on Saturday, Dec. 28. The nonconference slate comes to an end Dec. 30 with a road game at Eastern Illinois.
“Having gone through one year of Valley play, we looked to schedule a mix of styles of play from our nonconference opponents that replicate what we’ll see once we get to January,” Evans said. “Having these opportunities against different styles in the nonconference will give us a knowledge base to reflect back on and reference when we start MVC play.”