SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Head coach Bunky Harkleroad announced another exciting and challenging schedule in 2016-17 for the Sacramento State women's basketball team. The Hornets will play 10 games against 2015-16 postseason teams with three contests against NCAA Tournament teams.
The 29-game regular season schedule is highlighted by a home game against USC on Dec. 3 and a trip to Hawaii to compete in the Bank of Hawaii Classic the weekend before Thanksgiving. The team has nine Big Sky games and six non-conference games at home as well as a home exhibition game for a total of 16 home dates.
"I think it's a great mid-major schedule because we have a nice mix of teams," Harkleroad said. "Big Sky play is always a challenge and our pre-conference schedule is very competitive. It's an exciting schedule from top to bottom and a more balanced schedule but still tough."
Sacramento State will be hosting a Pac-12 team for the second consecutive season after UCLA played in The Nest last year. USC will be making its third appearances in Sacramento, having last visited The Nest in 2000.
The Hornets will play a second game against a Pac-12 team at Cal on Dec. 8 as Sacramento State will play the Bears in Haas Pavilion for the third consecutive season. The Hornets will be facing multiple Pac-12 teams for the fourth straight year.
In November Sacramento State will visit the Hawaiian Islands for the first time since the 2006-07 season. In the four-team Bank of Hawaii Classic in Honolulu the Hornets will not actually face Hawaii, playing neutral site games against defending WAC champion and NCAA Tournament participant New Mexico State on Nov. 18 and against 2016 WBI semifinalist Youngstown State on Nov. 20.
The Hornets open the regular season at San Francisco on Nov. 11 facing a Dons team that went 21-12 last year and won the WCC Tournament to reach the NCAA Tournament. Sacramento State hosts Cal Poly and Nevada before the Hawaii trip and returns home to face 2016 WNIT participant Hofstra on Friday, Nov. 25.
Stanislaus State will visit The Nest on Nov. 29 before the USC games on Dec. 3, which will be the second half of a home doubleheader with the Hornet Men's Basketball team. The Hornets will play road games at Cal and UC Irvine before ending the non-conference season hosting Causeway rival UC Davis Dec. 18.
"We definitely have a highlight with another Pac-12 school coming to play on our home court," Harkleroad said. "Our players are also very excited about the opportunity to travel to Hawaii and play against two quality teams in that event. It should be a great way for us to get prepared for conference play."
The 18-game Big Sky schedule opens with the Hornets playing at Northern Colorado on Dec. 29 and at North Dakota on New Years Eve. Sacramento State hosts Portland State, Southern Utah, and Northern Arizona to begin the new year.
In the unbalanced Big Sky schedule the Hornets will face defending Big Sky Tournament champion Idaho only once, hosting the Vandals on Feb. 4. The Hornets plays defending regular season Big Sky champion Montana State in Bozeman on Jan. 19 and in The Nest Feb. 18.
Both Weber State and Idaho State will not play in The Nest this year and the Hornets will not have road games at Idaho and Eastern Washington. Sacramento State will play four of its last six Big Sky games at home, ending the regular season hosting North Dakota March 1 and Northern Colorado March 3.
The Big Sky Tournament returns to Reno for the second consecutive season and will begin with First Round games on March 6. Quarterfinals will be played March 8, semifinals take place on March 10, and the championship game will be held on March 11 at the Reno Events Center. .
The Hornets will play one exhibition game leading up to the season, facing Holy Names Oct. 30 in The Nest.