Aug. 23, 2011
SAN BRUNO, Calif. -- The West Coast Conference women's basketball conference schedule will get an early start this season, as the 2011-12 WCC slate was announced Tuesday. As a result of the WCC's expansion to nine schools, the conference basketball season will begin prior to New Year's Day for the first time and feature 16 conference games for each team.
West Coast Conference play should prove to be a challenge this season, after four of the nine WCC teams earned postseason berths in 2010-11. Last season, Gonzaga University capped its memorable campaign by becoming the first WCC team to appear in the Elite Eight in the NCAA Basketball Championships. The Zags upset no. 6 Iowa 92-86, upended no. 8 UCLA 89-75, and defeated no. 7 Louisville 76-69 in the Sweet 16. BYU, Pepperdine University and Saint Mary's College each made Women's National Invitational Tournament appearances, with the Cougars advancing to the Sweet 16 of the postseason WNIT.
The 2011-12 West Coast Conference women's basketball schedule gets underway on December 29, 2011 with three games on the docket. Portland hosts northwest rival Gonzaga, Saint Mary's travels to Loyola Marymount, and Pepperdine heads north to face San Francisco.
Two days later, West Coast Conference newcomer BYU will make its WCC debut with its conference-opener at Saint Mary's. The Cougars return seven players from a squad that went 25-9 last season, and in its first ever West Coast Conference test, BYU takes on a Gaels-squad that went 10-4 in the WCC last season. That same day, San Francisco visits Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine travels to Santa Clara. The Waves made their second consecutive WNIT appearance last year and finished fourth in the NCAA with 12.8 steals per game.
WCC-defending champion Gonzaga will travel to Malibu to face 2011 WNIT-participant Pepperdine on January 5. That same night, LMU will travel to Provo, Utah to face BYU in the Cougars' first home-contest as a member of the WCC.
San Diego becomes the final West Coast Conference team to open WCC play, when the Toreros head to Northern California to face Saint Mary's on January 7. The Toreros are looking to build on last year's postseason success when they defeated LMU and upset no. 3 seed Pepperdine in the 2011 Zappos.com West Coast Conference Basketball Championships in Las Vegas.
The 2012 Zappos.com WCC Basketball Championships will take place from February 29 to March 5 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, with the championship game televised nationally on ESPNU.
The complete 2011-12 West Coast Conference women's basketball schedule follows, but is subject to change. For the most up-to-date schedule, visit WCCsports.com.