The West Coast Conference released the 2014-15 women’s basketball schedule Tuesday with teams opening up league action the last week of December.
“We are excited to compete in the conference race this season and it looks like we’ll start it off with a difficult road game playing at Gonzaga, a team that will likely be the league favorite,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said.
Judkins said he hopes when Gonzaga comes to Provo the team will have played its middle season games well enough to be in the race for the conference title.
“Hopefully we will be in the hunt for a conference title when they come to Provo for our final WCC game. It looks like we will have a tough stretch in the middle of the season too when we play three straight road games at Saint Mary’s, at Pacific and at San Diego,” he said.
BYU opens the 2014-15 campaign on the road at Gonzaga and at Portland on Dec. 27 and 29, respectively. The Bulldogs and Pilots will be under new head coaches this coming season. Lisa Fortier, an assistant for Gonzaga the past seven years, was named the head coach earlier this year. Portland named assistant Cheryl Sorenson to head its women’s basketball program. Gonzaga and BYU competed in the NCAA tournament last year with the Cougars advancing to the Sweet 16, while the Bulldogs played in the first round.
The first WCC games to be played in the Marriott Center start New Year’s Day, when BYU hosts Santa Clara on Thursday, Jan. 1. On Saturday, Jan. 3, BYU battles San Francisco.
A trip to Southern California to play at LMU on Jan. 8 and at Pepperdine on Jan. 10 follows for the Cougar women’s team.
The Cougars return to their home court the following week, hosting Pacific and Saint Mary’s on Jan. 15 and 17, respectively. Both conference foes competed in last year’s postseason WNIT. The Tigers played in the first round, while the Gaels advanced to the second round.
One game is on the slate for the Cougars the following week when they host San Diego on Saturday, Jan. 24. The Toreros advanced to the quarterfinals of the postseason WNIT last year.
January ends on the road for BYU when it battles San Francisco on Jan. 29 and Santa Clara on Jan. 31.
League foes Pepperdine and LMU come to the Marriott Center the first week of February. The Waves are in Provo on Thursday, Feb. 5, with the Lions making an appearance on Saturday, Feb. 7.
Three straight road conference games follow for BYU as it plays at Saint Mary’s on Feb. 12 and at Pacific on Feb. 14. On Saturday, Feb. 21, the Cougars are at San Diego.
The final week of WCC action brings Portland and Gonzaga to the Marriott Center. The Cougars host the Pilots on Thursday, Feb. 26, and the Bulldogs on Saturday, Feb. 28.
BYU then travels to Las Vegas to compete in the WCC Championships at the Orleans Arena on March 5-10.
The Cougars open the 2014-15 season on the road at South Dakota State on Nov. 14. The team’s home opener is Nov. 19 vs. Cal State Northridge.
As a precursor to the season, BYU plays two exhibition games on Nov. 1 against Westminster and Fort Lewis College on Nov. 8.
Royce Hinton is the assistant women's basketball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company