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Although the Huskers are hoping to add two more opponents, the schedule is already loaded from top to bottom, featuring at least 15 games against 2010 postseason tournament qualifiers and at least nine games against NCAA Tournament teams. The Huskers will also play at least 19 games against top 100 RPI teams from 2009-10.
"The last three seasons we have played the toughest schedules in school history, and this year's schedule will be at least as challenging as those schedules," Yori said. "We will play at least seven postseason teams in non-conference action, before we get to a Big 12 schedule that features five opponents that won NCAA Tournament games last year. Nearly every night will provide a postseason-caliber opponent at the Devaney Center."
The Big 12 Conference schedule, which was released by the league office on Monday morning, will include trips by NCAA Final Four foes Oklahoma and Baylor to the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The Huskers, who won the 2010 Big 12 title and finished with a 32-2 overall record, will tip-off the conference season against the Sooners on Saturday, Jan. 8, before battling the Lady Bears at the Devaney Center on Wednesday, Feb. 9.
The Sooners and Bears will be far from the only marquee opponents at the Devaney Center this season. In fact, the Huskers will begin their 2010-11 non-conference season with three straight games against 2010 postseason tournament teams at the Devaney Center.
Nebraska, which averaged a school-record 7,390 fans per game to rank seventh nationally in attendance in 2009-10, could create a buzz by opening against Vermont on Saturday, Nov. 14 at the Devaney Center. The Catamounts captured the 2010 America East Tournament title and finished with a 27-7 overall record while advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
After the battle with the Catamounts, the Huskers will clash with the Miami Hurricanes on Wednesday, Nov. 17 at the Devaney Center. Last season, a young Hurricane team finished with a 22-14 overall record while racing to a runner-up finish in the Postseason WNIT. The 'Canes return six starters from last year's club that nearly knocked off the Huskers in Miami.
NU will face its third straight foe with 20 wins in 2009-10, when it welcomes Saint Mary's to the Devaney Center on Saturday, Nov. 20. The Gaels earned a Postseason WNIT bid with a 21-12 record a year ago, including a narrow loss to the Huskers on their homecourt in Moraga, Calif. Saint Mary's is coached by Wayne State College graduate Paul Thomas, a native of Creighton, Neb., and the Gaels include one of the most prolific shot-blockers in NCAA history - 6-4 senior forward Louella Tomlinson - who averaged a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds per game in 2009-10.
The Huskers will make their first road trip of the year to Washington State on Nov. 22, before returning to play host to UNLV on Tuesday, Nov. 30, at the Devaney Center. NU will then play back-to-back road games at Indiana (Dec. 5) and Creighton (Dec. 8), as the Huskers play their first game at D.J. Sokol Arena.
Following a home game against Northern Colorado on Saturday, Dec. 11, the Huskers will play another challenging three-game stretch at the Duel in the Desert in Las Vegas. NU will open the three-game tournament against 2010 WNIT qualifier Houston, before facing traditional power Marist. The Red Foxes, who have won eight straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference crowns, earned an NCAA Tournament bid in 2010. The Huskers close the tournament against 2009 NCAA runner-up Louisville, coached by former NU assistant Jeff Walz. The Cardinals played in the Women's Basketball Invitational postseason tournament last season, despite a 14-18 overall record.
The Huskers are also scheduled to take on the Florida A&M Rattlers at the Devaney Center on Sunday, Jan. 2. Last season, the Rattlers finished with an 18-11 overall record that included road wins over traditional SEC powers Florida and Alabama.
Nebraska, which loses three starters from last year's club that advanced to the school's first-ever NCAA Sweet 16 after winning the Big 12 Conference title, will hope to gain plenty of experience against the formidable non-conference schedule.
"We are going to be a younger team this year than we were last year when we had five returning starters, including an All-American in Kelsey Griffin and first-team All-Big 12 players Cory Montgomery and Yvonne Turner," Yori said. "Our five freshmen are going to have to grow up fast, and we are going to need returning starters Dominique Kelley and Lindsey Moore to provide us with a lot of leadership."
Following a rigorous non-conference schedule, the Huskers begin Big 12 play against Oklahoma at the Devaney Center on Saturday, Jan. 8. The Sooners have advanced to back-to-back NCAA Women's Final Fours, and return All-America point guard Danielle Robinson to their backcourt in 2010-11.
After a road trip to NCAA Sweet 16 qualifier Iowa State (Jan. 11), the Huskers return home to face Big 12 North rival Kansas on Saturday, Jan. 15. The Jayhawks worked their way to the third round of the 2010 Postseason WNIT. NU will take its mid-week Big 12 Conference bye before traveling to Kansas State (Jan. 22), then return home for its fourth straight Big 12 North game by completing its season series with Iowa State on Wednesday, Jan. 26.
NU will play its fourth straight home game against a 2010 postseason qualifier when the Huskers take on Texas Tech on Saturday, Jan. 29 at the Devaney Center. The Lady Raiders advanced to the second round of the 2010 Postseason WNIT.
After back-to-back road battles against Big 12 North foes Missouri (Feb. 2) and Colorado (Feb. 5), the Huskers return to take on 2010 NCAA Women's Final Four qualifier Baylor on Wednesday, Feb. 9. The Lady Bears return four starters from last year's club, including National Freshman of the Year, 6-foot-8 Brittney Griner.
The Huskers complete a three-game swing against Big 12 South foes by battling Oklahoma State (Feb. 12) and Texas (Feb. 15) on the road. The Cowgirls and Longhorns both advanced to the second round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
Nebraska opens a four-game stretch against Big 12 North opponents with back-to-back home games against Kansas State (Feb. 19) and Missouri (Feb. 22), before a road trip to Kansas (Feb. 26). The Huskers celebrate Senior Night for Dominique Kelley, Catheryn Redmon and Jessica Periago at the Devaney Center against Colorado on Wednesday, March 2. NU wraps up the regular season at Texas A&M March 5, before heading to Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo., for its final appearance in the Big 12 Tournament, March 8-12.
The NCAA Tournament Selection Show is set for Monday, March 14, with first- and second-round games at 16 pre-determined sites running March 19-22. NCAA Regionals will be held in Dallas, Texas, Dayton, Ohio, Spokane, Wash., and Philadelphia, Pa., March 26-29, before Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis plays host to the NCAA Women's Final Four, April 3-5.