The women's basketball team has officially released its games for the season following the announcement of the Play for Kay Shootout field.
The records next to the teams are from last season, and while rosters have changed, the better teams have been consistently good as of late. It will be a challenging schedule that should get the ladies ready for conference play.
11/5 Northwest Christian (exhibition)
11/13 @ Colorado State (25-9)
11/18 @ Montana (7-23)
11/23 Belmont (27-6) (N)*
11/24 Stanford/Kent State (N)*
11/25 Depaul/Florida Gulf Coast/Memphis/Ohio State (N)*
11/30 Eastern Washington (18-13)
12/2 Portland State (16-17)
12/6 @ Washington State (16-20)
12/17 Saint Francis (PA) (17-15)
12/21 Western Illinois (26-7)
*(N) Neutral site game - Play for Kay Shootout
Similar to Mark Few's approach, Lisa Fortier will challenge her team in non-conference play. After the exhibition warm-up, the Zags will start out on the road with the defending regular season champs from the Mountain West in the Colorado State Rams.
The games against Saint Francis, Portland State, Eastern Washington and a road contest against Montana shouldn't be too much trouble, but are must-wins in terms of at-large hopes.
Two underrated tricky games on the schedule are at Washington State and the last game of the non conference against Western Illinois. While the Cougars finished last season at 16-20, they made a run into the NIT semis, including a beatdown against BYU.
While Western Illinois might not seem threatening, they did finish with a 26-7 record, good for first in the Summit League.
The non-conference tournament the Zags were invited to will be considered the strongest one in the entire women's field. The second annual Play for Kay Shootout invitational includes six regular season conference champions and one final four participant.
Their first opponent will be the Belmont Bruins, who at 26-7 is the defending Ohio Valley regular season champs.
If the Zags win they will most likely face a rematch with the Stanford Cardinal, who reached the final four last year. Gonzaga went on the road and defeated #9 Stanford last season behind Jill Barta's 26 points.
On the other side of the bracket is Ohio State, the reigning Big Ten champs expected for more of the same this year. If the Zags can avoid Memphis and Kent State, there should be three top 100 resume building games.
12/28 @ Pacific
12/30 @ Santa Clara
1/6 Loyola Marymount
1/11 @ Portland
1/13 San Francisco
1/18 @ Saint Mary's
1/20 Santa Clara
1/27 @ San Francisco
2/1 @ San Diego
2/3 @ Byu
2/10 Saint Mary's
2/15 @ Loyola Marymount
2/17 @ Pepperdine
2/22 San Diego
The two weeks that could ultimately decide the conference standings are the BYU and San Diego home and away splits. The Cougars have been the biggest thorn to Gonzaga's side over recent years, and the reemergence of Maya Hood will make the Toreros a contender this year.
West Coast Conference Championships
3/1 First round/ First two Quarterfinals
3/2 Other two quarterfinals
3/6 Championship Finals
The layout of the WCC women's conference tournament is different from the men, in that the top two teams get a buy into the next day for the women, rather than the top six for the men. Its important for the ladies to get a top two seed for an easier path to the championship.