Aug. 14, 2008
TUCSON - First-year Head Coach Niya Butts has announced the tentative schedule for the upcoming 2008-09 season for the Arizona women's basketball team.
"I am really excited about the upcoming season," Butts said. "I think we have a very competitive schedule and we have a lot of work to do before the season. But I think I can speak for our whole team when I say we are excited about this season."
Butts will lead her inaugural team in a total 29 regular season contests and two pre-season exhibition games. On the slate are 14 home games to be played at McKale Center, including nine contests against Pacific-10 Conference foes and five against non-conference opponents.
Arizona will face six programs that advanced to the NCAA tournament last season, including 2008 national runner-up Stanford. Three teams - No. 2 Stanford, No. 8 Texas A&M and No. 18 California - finished ranked in the USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll.
The Wildcats will begin their first season under the direction of Butts by hosting the annual Red/Blue Game on Wednesday, Oct. 29. The following week, on Tuesday, Oct. 4, UA will host Oklahoma Panhandle State in an exhibition contest.
Regular season competition will begin with trip to Hilo, Hawaii, November 14-16, as UA looks to battle Hawaii, Toledo and Loyola Marymount in a round robin tournament.
Soon to follow will be a pair of home games on Nov. 23 and 25 as UC Santa Barbara and Texas A&M visit the Old Pueblo, providing Arizona fans their first chance to see Butts' Wildcats in regular season action in McKale Center.
"It's always good for a team to play some early games in front of the home crowd," Butts said of the first home games. "But I think it will be especially important for us since we are so young. We hope to give our fans some excitement early in the season as we gain confidence in ourselves."
The Wildcats will then settle into a stretch of six non-conference matchups - three at home and three on road -to be played in late November through the end of December. The well-balanced schedule will give UA the opportunity to mix in quality practices with its game schedule before the start of Pacific-10 Conference play.
"Those early games will give us a chance to put our brand of basketball on display and give us an indication of what we have to work on before we hit the meat of the schedule," Butts said. "We are going to learn a lot about ourselves early on and find out what we have to work on before the conference season."
Arizona will open conference action on Jan. 2 against California, before hosting 2008 Pac-10 Champion Stanford on Jan. 4.
The Wildcats will play each Pac-10 foe twice - once at home and once on the road - before the start of post-season play. The Pacific-10 Conference Tournament is set to begin on March 12 with the championship game slated for March 15.
Arizona fans can begin purchasing new season tickets beginning on August 18, but requests are being taken now. Individual game tickets will go on sale October 20.