NASHVILLE – Fresh off of one of the most successful seasons in recent history, the Lipscomb women’s basketball team and head coach Greg Brown announced a challenging 2018-19 schedule on Monday.
The difficult slate features eight postseason teams from last season, including four NCAA Tournament teams.
“We like our schedule. It’s a challenging one, and we’re looking forward to some exciting matchups,” Lipscomb women’s basketball head coach Greg Brown said.
After a preseason exhibition in Allen Arena against Cincinnati Christian on Nov. 6, the Lady Bisons will host fellow Nashville squad Tennessee State on Nov. 9 for the regular season opener.
Lipscomb’s first road test of the season will come against the ACC’s Clemson on Nov. 11.
“With TSU at home to start and then Clemson on the road, I think we have a strong, balanced start to the season with a fellow local mid-major and a Power Five school,” Brown said.
The Lady Bisons will visit another Power Five opponent on Dec. 19 as Lipscomb takes on Georgia in Athens. The Bulldogs finished third in the SEC last season, were ranked 18th nationally in the final AP Poll, and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
“Power Five teams offer us a chance to play against different styles,” Brown said. “They’re going to be a little bit bigger and a little bit longer, but our conference has a lot of athleticism and size and several Power Five transfers, so those games will give us an idea of what we’ll need to work on daily to prepare for conference play.”
This season’s Battle of the Boulevard will take place on Dec. 4 at Belmont. The Bruins finished last season ranked 23rd in the nation, went undefeated in the OVC, and reached the NCAA Tournament.
Other notable nonconference matchups include a visit to Cincinnati on Nov. 24 and a home matchup with UT-Martin on Dec. 9. Both Cincinnati and UT-Martin were 2018 NIT participants.
“The challenging teams we’re playing in the nonconference schedule will help prepare us for the conference portion of the schedule,” Brown said. “But the focus is still going to be on us and what we have to do.
“Once our players started figuring out our identity toward the end of the ASUN schedule last season, we made our best run of the season. It’s less about who we’re playing and more about how we’re playing and what we’re doing.”
Conference play kicks off with Lipscomb visiting Jacksonville on Jan. 5. The Dolphins took the ASUN’s slot in the NIT last season.
The first ASUN home game will take place on Jan. 8 as North Florida comes to Allen Arena.
The Lady Bisons will take on the defending ASUN champions FGCU on Jan. 22 (in Fort Myers) and Feb. 19 (at home). The Eagles upset Missouri in the first round of last season’s NCAA Tournament.
ASUN newcomer Liberty will visit Nashville for the first time on Jan. 29, with the Lady Bisons heading to Liberty on Feb. 12. The Flames earned a NCAA Tournament bid in 2018 by winning the Big South.
North Alabama, also a newcomer to the ASUN, is set for a Feb. 2 matchup at Allen Arena and a March 2 outing in Alabama.
“With the addition of Liberty and North Alabama to the conference, it makes the ASUN that much more difficult,” Brown said. “FGCU and Liberty were both NCAA Tournament teams last season. We’ll see strong, athletic teams throughout conference play.”
Lipscomb will close out the regular season on March 5 at home against Kennesaw State.
The ASUN Tournament is set to begin on March 8, with the semifinals and finals scheduled for March 13 and 17, respectively.
Brown and his staff are encouraged by the work they have seen the players put in over the summer, as well as the integration of the new players.
“We started building on this season in the spring last season,” Brown said. “I’m really excited about how they came in during the summer. Obviously, our success last year was a strong building point for us, and I think it showed what our players are capable of.
“We’ve got seven freshman coming in plus Anna Hammaker is eligible. There’s a lot of experience coming back, and the freshmen and transfers have blended in well and filled some gaps we’ve had, so we’re excited to see this team in action.”