EWU's 2017-18 women's basketball schedule set - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

EWU's 2017-18 women's basketball schedule set

Season will feature 30 games. Photo: EWU Athletics Season will feature 30 games. Photo: EWU Athletics

By EWU Athletics

CHENEY, Wash. – Entering her 17th season at the helm of Eastern Washington University women's basketball, head coach Wendy Schuller has announced her team's 2017-18 schedule. The campaign features 30 games, 14 of which will be contested at home on Reese Court.

The Eagles play one lone exhibition on Reese Court against NAIA member Master's University on Nov. 5.

The nonconference portion of the schedule consists of 12 games, including matchups against several Power 5 conference opponents.

"Once again I think we have a challenging schedule and it starts with a difficult non-conference schedule. Our team is still young, so it will provide us an opportunity to play on some big stages and grow up quickly," said Schuller. "Teams like BYU, Oregon, Gonzaga and Purdue provide some formidable opponents and we will find out a lot about ourselves in a hurry."

The first road trip of the year and the regular season kicks off at Fresno State (Nov. 10) and Air Force (Nov. 14). The game against the Falcons is a makeup from the Dec. 18 contest a year ago that was canceled due to a snow storm.

On Nov. 17, Eastern Washington opens its home slate against BYU. The Cougars posted a 20-12 overall record last season and advanced to the first round of the WNIT where they fell to eventual-runner up Washington State.

The Eagles then face a tough road test at Oregon on Nov. 21. The Ducks advanced to the Elite Eight in the 2016-17 NCAA tournament, falling to Connecticut after posting a 23-14 overall record.

Eastern returns home to play host to Utah Valley on Nov. 25. A season ago, the Eagles topped the Wolverines by a score of 83-50 on the road. The following week, Eastern stays close to home for a matchup at West Coast Conference Champions and local foe Gonzaga on Nov. 30.

December opens with three straight home matches, beginning with Mountain West Champion Boise State on Dec. 3 and a matchup against NAIA member Multnomah on Dec. 8. The Eagles close out the home stand against Cal Poly on Dec. 11.

The nonconference portion of the schedule concludes at the Traveler's Invitational on Dec. 17-20 in West Lafayette, Ind. The Eagles open the invitational against hosts Purdue on Dec. 17. The Boilermakers lost in the Big Ten Championship game to Maryland before advancing to the round of the NCAA Tournament. On Dec. 18, EWU faces 2016 WNIT participant St. Mary's before closing competition against Ohio Valley Conference runner-ups Tennessee-Martin on Dec. 20.

"In the end, our non-conference schedule is designed to prepare us for the rigors of Big Sky conference play," added Schuller. "Our league has difficult places to play and many styles of play so I think it's important for us to be prepared for all of it."

The always rigorous 18-game Big Sky Conference Slate begins on Dec. 28 against Northern Colorado, who posted a 22-8 overall record a season ago. The Eagles close out 2017 against North Dakota on Dec. 30, also on Reese Court.

A travel heavy January begins with a two-game road stint, starting with Portland State (Jan. 4) and Sacramento State (Jan. 6).

On Jan. 12, the Eagles play rival Idaho on the road for the first time since the Vandals knocked Eastern out of the Women's Basketball Invitational during the 2016-17 season. The game will be a part of a doubleheader with EWU and Idaho men's basketball team, which will begin at 7:30 or 30 minutes after the women's game ends inside Reese Court.

"The conference slate will be tough as always. The league returns some outstanding teams and every night will be a battle," said Schuller. "I'm excited for our teams and fans to play the doubleheader with the Idaho men's and women's basketball teams. I think it's great for our region."

The other two January home games take place on Jan. 18 and Jan. 20 when the Eagles play host to Northern Arizona and Southern Utah, respectively. After the home stand, the Eagles close out January with a two-game road trip against North Dakota and Northern Colorado.

February opens with two straight home games against Sacramento State (Feb. 1), Portland State (Feb. 3).

EWU then readies for three consecutive road games. The following week, another doubleheader between the Eastern Washington and Idaho basketball teams takes place on Feb. 9 in Moscow with the same tipoff times. The Eagles then embark to Montana for a matchup against the Grizzlies on Feb. 15 and Montana State on Feb. 17.

The final two home games take place on Feb. 22 against Weber State and Feb. 24 against Idaho State for Senior Day. The regular season concludes on the road against Southern Utah (Feb. 28) and Northern Arizona (March 2).

"Overall, we have to approach each game on the schedule as its own individual battle and have the understanding that our goal is to improve every day, play Eagle basketball, and be ready for Reno," stated Schuller.

The Big Sky Conference Tournament is slated for March 5-10 in Reno, Nev.

The Eagles return three starters from a team that posted at least 19 wins for the third straight season during 2016-17. EWU went 19-14 a season ago, including an 11-6 record in Big Sky play and a berth to the program's first appearance in the Women's Basketball Invitational.

Eastern Washington was busy in the offseason as four new freshmen in Cailyn Francis (6-3, C, Yuba City, Calif.), Lily Perkins (5-11, F, West Covina, Calif.), Lea Wolff (5-7, G, Leverkusen, Germany) and Brittany Klaman (5-11, G, Melbourne, Australia) were added to the roster. Shortly after the conclusion of the 2016-17 season, Schuller signed a new five-year contract and new assistant coach Danielle Mauldin joined the team.

To stay up to date with all things Eastern Washington women's basketball and for exclusive coverage, follow the team on Twitter and Instagram @EWUWBB and like the team on Facebook at EWU Women's Basketball.

EAGSPIERIENCE EASTERN: Eastern's exhibition against The Master's and its Dec. 8 game against Multnomah will be complimentary to the public through EWU's 'Eagsperience Eastern' campaign that includes over 40 complimentary home events during the 2017-18 athletic seasons. All events take place on the campus of Eastern Washington and include volleyball, a program record 11 home soccer matches, and two women's basketball games. Men's and women's tennis home matches, track and field meets and football scrimmages are also open and complimentary to the public.