RUSTON - Highlighted by a non-conference schedule that features 13 games against teams with winning records a year ago, Louisiana Tech released its 2011-12 women's basketball schedule today.
Head coach Teresa Weatherspoon and Co. will face a 29-game regular season slate that features 15 non-conference contests and 14 Western Athletic Conference tilts.
The Lady Techsters - who are coming off back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances - face this challenging schedule with a roster that is minus four seniors from last year's team, including All-American Adrienne Johnson.
"That shows you how much we believe in this team," Weatherspoon said. "We have five freshmen, and we lost a lot in Adrienne Johnson and that senior class. We lost a lot. That's a lot to ask of these freshmen. But they are that gifted and talented.
"It's a matter of coming together and if they do that, great things will happen. The schedule is tough, and Sara Carter did a great job with piecing it together. We believe in this crew so much that we will play anyone. When they put it between the lines on a daily basis our belief and trust in them is just confirmed."
Tech's non-conference slate includes games against 10 teams that won 20 or more contests last year, including Houston (26-6), Missouri State (24-11), Oral Roberts (23-11), Tennessee Tech (23-8), UALR (23-8), Tulane (23-11), St. John's (22-11), Memphis (21-13), Prairie View (21-12), and Old Dominion (20-11).
It also includes marquee match-ups against a trifecta of Southeastern Conference foes in LSU (19-13), Alabama (18-15) and Mississippi State (13-17). The Lady Techsters also face former Sun Belt Conference rivals in Arkansas State (18-14) and Western Kentucky (15-17) as well as Big East foe Seton Hall (8-21).
Nineteen of Tech's 29 games will be against teams that participated in postseason a year ago.
Weatherspoon said the challenging scheduling philosophy is something that paid dividends for the program last year.
"You have to beat them. You can't just play them," Weatherspoon said. "It truly worked for us last year when we didn't win the WAC Tournament. Because of what we did in our non-conference schedule, we still got a bid to the NCAA Tournament. We got (the philosophy) from Fresno State (the year before).
"I don't want to play people and get beat and then lose all of our confidence. But our girls are capable of going out and playing (talented teams). They are capable of succeeding if they do what we ask. You have to play the best to be the best."
Tech opens the season Nov. 11 at home against Missouri State before going on the road for its first road test of the year Nov. 19 at Oral Roberts. The Lady Techsters compete in a pair of tournaments, including the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands Nov. 24-26 where they will face Seton Hall, Old Dominion and Alabama.
The Lady Techsters also compete in the St. John's Chartwell Holiday Classic in New York Dec. 17 and 18 where they will face Memphis and then either the host Red Storm or Prairie View A&M.
Tech hosts a pair of familiar SEC teams in Mississippi State (Dec. 11) and LSU (Dec. 29) as well as in-state foe Tulane (Dec. 2).
Defense of its Western Athletic Conference regular season title begins after New Year's as the 14-game slate includes seven home contests, including the annual battle against league rival Fresno State on Feb. 4.
The Lady Techsters also play a pair of exhibition games prior to the start of the regular season in Arkansas-Monticello (Nov. 1) and Delta State (Nov. 8).
Season tickets are on sale and can be purchased by calling 318-257-3631, emailing email@example.com or logging onto www.latechsports.com.
Tech fans can get a look at this year's Lady Techster team on Thursday, Oct. 20 when they join Michael White and the Bulldogs for the annual Basketball Bonanza set for 7 p.m. at the Thomas Assembly Center.
2011-12 Louisiana Tech Women's Basketball Schedule
Nov. 1 Ark-Monticello (Ex) 7 p.m.
Nov. 8 Delta St. (Ex) 7 p.m.
Nov. 11 Missouri St. 7 pm
Nov. 19 @ ORU 2:05 pm
Nov. 22 UALR 7 pm
Nov. 24 vs. Seton Hall$ 2:15 p.m.
Nov. 25 vs. Old Dominion$ 2:15 p.m.
Nov. 26 vs. Alabama$ 2:15 p.m.
Dec. 2 Tulane 7 pm
Dec. 5 @ WKU 7 pm
Dec. 7 @ Houston 7 pm
Dec. 11 Mississippi St. 2 pm
Dec. 13 @ Arkansas St. 7 pm
Dec. 17 vs Memphis^ 2 p.m.
Dec. 18 vs. SJU/Prairie View^ 11 a.m./1 p.m.
Dec. 21 Tennessee Tech 7 p.m.
Dec. 29 LSU (DH) 7 pm
Jan. 12 Idaho* (DH) 8 pm
Jan. 14 Utah St.* (DH) 6 pm
Jan. 19 @ Hawaii* (DH) 9 p.m.
Jan. 21 @ SJSU* (DH) 10:30 p.m.
Jan. 28 @ NMSU* TBA
Feb. 2 Nevada* 7 pm
Feb. 4 Fresno St. * 7 pm
Feb. 9 @ Utah St.* (DH) 6 p.m.
Feb. 11 @ Idaho* (DH) 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 16 SJSU* (DH) 6 pm
Feb. 18 Hawaii* (DH) TBA
Feb. 25 NMSU* (DH) 6 pm
Mar. 1 @ Fresno St.* (DH) 8 p.m.
Mar. 3 @ Nevada* (DH) 4 p.m.
Mar. 7-10 @ WAC Tourney% TBA
&, Paradise Jam (St. Thomas, Virgin Islands)
^, St. John's Chartwell's Holiday Classic
*, Western Athletic Conference
%, WAC Tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada
All games times are Central