Coach Frank Bennett has announced the schedule which features non-conference home games with Lehigh opening the regular season schedule at Allen Arena Nov. 13. This will mark the first time the Lady Bisons have played Lehigh from the Patriot League.
The game with Lehigh is the first of three straight home games for the Lady Bisons to open the regular season with Central Arkansas visiting Nov. 15 and Austin Peay coming to campus Nov. 17. This will also mark the first time the Lady Bisons have played Central Arkansas, an old opponent from the NAIA days, since making the move to the NCAA.
“Lehigh and Austin Peay were both in the NCAA Tournament last year,” said Bennett. “Those games are going to be challenging. Central Arkansas is making the transition to Division I.”
The Lady Bisons will start the season with a pair of exhibition games with Harding Nov. 7 and Freed Hardeman Nov. 10.
Also on the home non-conference schedule are Evansville from the Missouri Valley Conference on Dec. 8 and South Alabama from the Sun Belt Dec. 28.
The Lady Bisons will make two short road trips to non-conference foes as they head across town to face Tennessee State Nov. 28 and head east to Cookeville to play Tennessee Tech Nov. 30.
The Lady Bisons will travel to Morehead, Ky., to play in the Morehead State Classic. They will face Winston-Salem State Nov. 20 followed by host Morehead State Nov. 21 and Presbyterian Nov. 22.
“That should give us some good competition,” said Bennett who will be in his 30th season as head coach of the Lady Bisons.
Four of the Lady Bisons foes _ Austin Peay, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech and Morehead State _ are from the Ohio Valley Conference.
“With the current economic environment playing teams nearby will help in that regard,” said Bennett. “Hopefully, there will be a lot of interest from fans because we are playing so many OVC teams. A lot of schools are looking for games more in their geographic regions.”
The Lady Bisons will open the Atlantic Sun Conference portion of the season on the road with a stop at Mercer Dec. 3 and at Kennesaw State Dec. 5.
On Jan. 2 the Lady Bisons will welcome the New Year with their first A-Sun home game of the season when Stetson visits Allen Arena. That will be the first of a four-game homestand with Florida Gulf Coast Jan. 4, USC Upstate Jan. 9 and Belmont Jan. 11 in the women’s version of the “Battle of the Boulevard”.
Rounding out the A-Sun home schedule for the Lady Bisons are ETSU Jan. 21, Campbell Jan. 23, North Florida, Feb. 6, Jacksonville Feb. 8, Kennesaw State Feb. 25 and Mercer Feb. 27 in the regular season finale. The Mercer game will also be “Senior Day”.
The Lady Bisons will be on the road Jan. 14 at Jacksonville and Jan. 16 at North Florida. They close out January with a quick trip down the boulevard to face Belmont Jan. 27 followed by a stop in Johnson City to face ETSU.
In February the Lady Bisons will be in Campbell on the 1st to complete a three-game road trip, one of two this season. The second three-game road trip begins Feb. 11 in Spartanburg, S.C. against USC Upstate followed by Florida Gulf Coast Feb. 18 in Fort Myers and Stetson Feb. 20 in DeLand, Fla.
“ETSU won the tournament and Florida Gulf Coast won the regular season,” said Bennett. “Both of them have most of their players back. “People are expecting Stetson to be much improved. It has been a more competitive league each year.”
The Atlantic Sun Tournament for both men’s and women’s teams will be played at Mercer University this season.