The Florida Gators women’s basketball team announced its schedule for the upcoming 2011-12 season with at least 17 games during the 2011-12 season against teams that competed in either the NCAA tournament, or Women’s National Invitation Tournament last season.
Each of the first five games will be versus opponents that earned a postseason berth last year, with the first four of those being played at home in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center where the Gators enter the season riding an 11-game winning streak against non-conference opponents.
“It’s a schedule that fits what our expectations are for the season,” head coach Amanda Butler said in a statement. “It’s very challenging.”
The Gators have all five starters returning alongside six other players who have played on the team last year, and look to on a 20-15 overall record from last season.
The first game of the season will be on Friday Nov. 11 in Gainesville against Big Ten Conference member Michigan in a game that will be the first of two home doubleheaders with the Gators men’s basketball team.
Florida then plays host Florida State on Nov. 17, and will travel to Brooklyn to play in Long Island University’s Thanksgiving tournament, against Charlotte, the team that ended UF’s season last year in the WNIT Round of 16.
Florida also plans on facing national power Rutgers at a day and location to be determined. It will also play host to the annual Gator Holiday Classic, Dec. 20 and 21, featuring Charleston Southern, Duquesne and Maine.
Butler, who is entering her fifth year as Florida women’s basketball coach, said the non-conference portion was made to get the team ready for what she called “the nation’s toughest conference schedule in the country.”
The team’s final 16 games are all Southeastern Conference matchups in a new rotation in the league’s 16-game league slate begins this season, which gets underway on Jan. 1 when the Gators play host to Kentucky.
Along with playing Kentucky twice, the Gators will also see Georgia, South Carolina, LSU, Ole Miss in both home and away games.
The Gators will have the luxury of playing SEC rivals in Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi at home, while playing Arkansas and Vanderbilt on the road while ending the season at Tennessee.
The SEC Tournament returns to Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena for a second consecutive season, being held March 1-4.
2011-12 Florida Women’s Basketball Schedule
Nov. 11 MICHIGAN (DH)
Nov. 14 STETSON
Nov. 17 FLORIDA STATE (DH)
Nov. 22 HAMPTON
Nov. 25 vs. Charlotte (1)
Nov. 26 vs. LaSalle or LIU (1)
Nov. 29 BELMONT
Dec. 7 at San Francisco
Dec. 9 at Pacific
Dec. 20 CHARLESTON SOUTHERN (3)
Dec. 21 MAINE or DUQUESNE (3)
Dec. 28 SAMFORD
Jan. 1 KENTUCKY*
Jan. 5 at Ole Miss*
Jan. 8 SOUTH CAROLINA*
Jan. 12 at Georgia*
Jan. 15 LSU*
Jan. 19 ALABAMA*
Jan. 22 at Kentucky*
Jan. 29 at Arkansas*
Feb. 2 at LSU*
Feb. 5 OLE MISS*
Feb. 9 AUBURN*
Feb. 12 at South Carolina*
Feb. 16 at Vanderbilt*
Feb. 19 GEORGIA*
Feb. 23 MISSISSIPPI STATE*
Feb. 26 at Tennessee*
March 1-4 at SEC Tournament (4)
*Southeastern Conference game; (1) Long Island Univ. Tournament – Brooklyn, N.Y.; (2) vs. Rutgers – Ocean Center in Dayton Beach, Fla.; (3) Gator Holiday Classic – Gainesville, Fla.; (4) SEC Tournament – Nashville, Tenn.