Coming off of their best season in head coach Katy Steding’s tenure, the Boston University women’s basketball team earned a strong schedule for this season.
With the entire 2017-18 slate released on Tuesday, the schedule offers some exciting opponents.
“We try to make the non-conference schedule very challenging,” Steding said. “We want it to be tougher, not easier than the Patriot League. I don’t want us to get some false sense of security by playing opponents that aren’t as challenging and go into [conference play] with our guard down.”
The Terriers will host 13 games at Case Gymnasium, four conference games and nine Patriot League showdowns.
One standout opponent that will visit Case Gym this year is the University of Central Florida. The Knights are coming off of a 21-12 season, highlighted by a win against at the time 22nd ranked University of Southern Florida.
Steding said she has established a “good relationship” with Knights head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson over the last few years. She spent six seasons at Albany prior to joining UCF, Steding said.
“I think it kind of grew from that,” Steding said of enticing the Knights to travel to Boston this season. The Terriers will also reciprocate next year, she added.
“We will trade games. We offered the game here first and we will go down there,” Steding said.
UCF qualified for the WNIT and defeated the Stetson Hatters in the first round before falling to Georgia Tech to end their season.
Eight-time WNBA All-Star, 1998 Big East Player of the Year and former Olympic competitor Nykesha Sales is in her second season as an assistant coach for UCF.
The Terriers also play host to Northeastern, Boston College and Marist as a part of the home non-conference schedule. Last season, the Terriers fell to all three teams on the road. Steding said she looks forward to the rematches on BU’s home court.
“They’re not complete mysteries to us,” Steding said. “We get the chance to track our progress with familiar opponents.”
While the non-conference schedule is challenging, Steding said the Terriers will face teams of similar skill to those of the Patriot League which will help them prepare for the conference schedule.
Contests at Delaware and Harvard highlight the away non-conference schedule which also includes games at New Hampshire, Bryant, Vermont and Brown. Last season, the Terriers fell at home to New Hampshire in a game where they opened up with a 10-0 run before ultimately falling 59-51.
The Terriers will face 2016-17 Patriot League Champion Bucknell at home on Jan. 2nd. Other key home contests in the conference come against Navy on Jan. 20, American on Feb. 14 and Army on Feb. 24.
With just under two months until the season tips off on Nov. 10 against Northeastern, Steding is preparing for another improved season with the understanding her team is continuing to trend upwards
“You want to play really challenging opponents and it helps our team’s confidence,” Steding said. “The most important thing we learned last year was how to create and manage an advantage. We learned how to win.”