The Western Kentucky women’s basketball team released its 2013-14 nonconference schedule this morning.
The Lady Toppers, who finished 22-11 last year under new coach Michelle Clark-Heard, have five home games on the nonconference slate, highlighted by a meeting at 7 p.m. Nov. 27 with last year’s national runner-up, Louisville, at E.A. Diddle Arena.
That game will mark the first time since the 1999-2000 season that WKU has hosted a team that reached the NCAA tournament’s Final Four in the previous season. Five of the Lady Tops’ 11 nonconference opponents reached the postseason last year.
“We have been able to upgrade our schedule for this season in a way that we think can help prepare us to accomplish many of the goals we have as a program,” Heard said in a news release. “Our schedule served us well in 2012-13, but our players are ready for a new opportunity. We have put together a slate of games for the upcoming season that will challenge us and prepare us for the conference season.”
WKU will host Austin Peay on Nov. 9 in the season opener, Murray State on Nov. 16, Morehead State on Dec. 1 and Jackson State on Dec. 15.
Those games will follow two home Lady Topper exhibition games – Oct. 29 against Glenville State (W.Va.) and Nov. 3 against Kentucky Wesleyan.
The other highlight of nonconference play is a trip to Vanderbilt on Nov. 11 in the second game of the season.
The Lady Tops’ other true road contests are at Southeast Missouri on Nov. 19, Northern Kentucky on Nov. 23 and Ball State on Dec. 7.
They were originally scheduled to visit Ole Miss this season in the first game of a series required in the buyout of former WKU athletic director Ross Bjork, who’s now in the same position at Ole Miss.
Bjork told the Daily News this month that there were date conflicts on both sides this season, and the plan is to begin that series in 2014-15.
WKU wraps nonconference action with a trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico, for two games Dec. 20-21. The Lady Tops will face Belmont and Georgetown in that event before turning their attention to Sun Belt Conference play.