The USC women’s basketball team released its regular-season schedule on Tuesday, and it features plenty of tough opponents as well as plenty of opportunities for new head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke to prove her program is headed back in the right direction.
The Women of Troy will have 18 of their 31 games televised, including all but one of their conference games (Jan. 12 at Arizona). Their game at Stanford on Jan. 27 will be televised on ESPN2, with all others available on the Pac-12 Network.
Coming off of an 11-20 season a year ago and a seventh-place finish in the Pac-12 with a 7-11 record, USC will begin its season on the road against UC Davis on Nov. 8 and Fresno State on Nov. 10. Last year, the Women of Troy suffered a 78-69 loss to the Aggies and 65-60 loss to the Bulldogs.
Their home opener will be on Nov. 13 against San Diego State at 4 p.m. After a trip to Stillwater, Okla. to take on Oklahoma State on Nov. 22, they will play their first televised game of the season against South Carolina on Nov. 25 at the Galen Center.
The team will then travel out of the country for the Mayan Tournament at the Cancun Challenge in Cancun, Mexico, from Nov. 28-30, where they will face Iowa, UNC Wilmington (where Cooper-Dyke coached from 2010-12) and Boston College.
USC will open its Pac-12 schedule with games at UCLA on Dec. 30 and home games against Colorado on Jan. 3 and Utah on Jan. 5. The team will face a tough final weekend of home games when it takes on Stanford on Feb. 21 and California on Feb. 23. The Women of Troy had a combined record of 0-5 against these two teams last season, losing by an average of 13.6 points per game.
They’ll close out the regular season on the road against Utah and Colorado on Feb. 27 and March 2, respectively.
USC will face eight teams that qualified for last year’s NCAA tournament — Stanford, California, UCLA, South Carolina, Colorado, Fresno State, San Diego State and Oklahoma State — along with eight that were either ranked or received votes in the final 2013 AP Poll. Stanford, California, UCLA, South Carolina, and Colorado all finished the season ranked, while Oklahoma State, Iowa, and San Diego State received votes. USC’s 23 opponents had a combined winning percentage of .573 in the 2012-13 season, meaning very little will come easily for the Women of Troy this season.
The Pac-12 Tournament will take place from March 6-9 in Seattle, Wash. for the second consecutive year. The Women of Troy will look to make it deeper into the tournament this season, after falling to California in the quarterfinals 78-59.
The NCAA Tournament, which USC last qualified for in the 2005-06 season, will start with the first and second rounds from March 22-25. The regionals will go from March 29 to April 1, and the Women’s Final Four will be held in Nashville, Tenn. on April 6 and 8.
Follow us on Twitter @dailytrojan