The University of Louisville women’s basketball team already bolstered its schedule just by joining the Atlantic Coast Conference. The schedule outside of conference play provides other significant challenges — including 2013 Final Four opponent Cal.
The Cardinals released on Thursday their nonconference schedule, which includes 11 schools that reached postseason play last year and seven that had at least 20-win seasons. In addition to the Bears, Louisville also faces nonleague foes Iowa and Kentucky in early December.
“We’re really excited about this schedule,” head coach Jeff Walz, the winningest coach in program history, said of the nonconference slate. “Coupled with our ACC contests, we have some great home games that I think our fans will really enjoy, four against some solid teams that made the NCAA Tournament last year.
“I’m also thrilled about the players we have coming back, but also having the ability to show off our five outstanding freshmen. I know they’re working really hard right now, and I can’t wait to see everyone packing the KFC Yum! Center this season.”
Those interested in season tickets at the KFC Yum! Center can complete a season-ticket application now. Season tickets include reserved, lower-level seats for all home games at the World’s Most Spectacular Arena, plus exclusive season-ticket holder benefits.
Louisville opens the anticipated 2014-15 campaign on Nov. 14 at IUPUI, which went 23-10 last season and reached the second round of the WNIT. The game is being played as part of a men’s and women’s doubleheader at the newly renovated Coliseum at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
Two days later, Louisville turns around and faces UT Martin on Nov. 16 in the Cardinals’ home opener and first of five-consecutive games at the KFC Yum! Center. UT Martin, one of five non-league opponents to reach the NCAA Tournament, won 24 games a season ago.
Louisville’s contest against Belmont on Nov. 20 marks the first of five games in a 10-day span. The Bruins are led by a familiar face in former UofL assistant coach Cameron Newbauer, entering his second season at the helm of the program. In his first year, the team reached the conference tournament’s title game and advanced to the WNIT.
After a game against Ball State on Nov. 23, Louisville plays host to Western Kentucky onNov. 25. Under the direction of another former UofL assistant in Michelle Clark-Heard, the Hilltoppers posted a 24-9 record. The two programs met last season, with Louisville logging a 74-61 victory. Bria Smith had team highs with 16 points and four steals, and the team shot 55.4 percent from the field.
The Cardinals face Lafayette on Nov. 28 at home before hitting the road for a contest at Valparaiso on Nov. 30.
Following a brief layoff, Louisville and Iowa are scheduled to tangle in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Dec. 4 in the KFC Yum! Center. The Cardinals ended the Hawkeyes’ season last year in the NCAA Round of 32, posting an 83-53 victory. Jude Schimmel came off the bench to tally 10 points and three steals.
Just three days later, Louisville welcomes Kentucky to town for a Dec. 7 matchup. Like the Cardinals, the Wildcats reached the NCAA Sweet 16 a season ago. Both schools entered last year’s matchup with a 7-0 record.
After playing host to Old Dominion on Dec. 15, Louisville begins its trek west.
The Cardinals play at Grand Canyon on Dec. 18, less than an hour away from Cortnee Walton’s hometown of Surprise, Ariz. A WBCA honorable mention All-American, Walton led her team to state championships in her junior and senior seasons. Grand Canyon went 21-9 last season and reached the WNIT first round.
The Cardinals and Bears then face off on Dec. 21 Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif., the first meeting since the two programs competed in the 2013 Final Four. Louisville beat No. 2 Cal in an exciting 64-57 decision in New Orleans, the year the Cardinals were dubbed the “Party Crashers.”
On Dec. 28, Louisville plays host to Evansville to wrap up its nonconference schedule, as the Cardinals prepare for their first season in the ACC.
For the latest information on Louisville women’s basketball, log on to GoCards.com, or, for up-to-the-minute updates, follow the team’s Twitter account atwww.twitter.com/UofLWBB or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UofLWBB.
LOUISVILLE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL NONCONFERENCE SCHEDULE
Nov. 14 at IUPUI
Nov. 16 vs. UT Martin
Nov. 20 vs. Belmont
Nov. 23 vs. Ball State
Nov. 25 vs. Western Kentucky
Nov. 28 vs. Lafayette
Nov. 30 at Valparaiso
Dec. 4 vs. Iowa %
Dec. 7 vs. Kentucky
Dec. 15 vs. Old Dominion
Dec. 18 at Grand Canyon
Dec. 21 at Cal
Dec. 28 vs. Evansville
% ACC/Big Ten Challenge