TUCSON, Ariz. With a slate that features eight 1999 NCAA Tournament participants, the University of Arizona women's basketball team announced its 1999-2000 schedule on Monday.
The Cats officially tip off the 2000 season at the Hawaiian Regent Classic in Honolulu Nov. 19-21. Arizona appears along with Oklahoma, Tennessee Tech and host Hawai'i.
Arizona opens its home slate with a contest which features the renewal of one of the UA's oldest series. The Cats play their first home game on Saturday, Nov. 27, against New Mexico, facing the Lobos for the first time since 1995 and reviving a competition that began during the UA's first official year of varsity play in 1973.
Other nonconference opponents coming to Tucson are Northern Illinois; UC
Santa Barbara, which finished 1999 ranked 17th in the Associated Press
poll; and Colorado State, a team that was consistently ranked in the top
five last year and ended the season at No. 7 in the AP poll.
The Wildcats play host to Indiana, Middle Tennessee State and Texas Southern for the ninth annual Insight.com Bowl Basketball Classic on Dec. 10 and 12. The Cats face Texas Southern, and Indiana takes on Middle Tennessee in first-round action.
Arizona rounds out nonconference action with a few road games. On Dec. 21, the Cats play at Kansas, which earned a No. 22 ranking in the final USA Today poll. The Wildcats then head even farther east to participate in the Seelbach Cardinal Classic on Dec. 28 and 29, along with Western Illinois, Marshall and host Louisville.
"We have another good schedule again this season," said head coach Joan Bonvicini, who enters her ninth season at the helm of the Arizona program. "Our trip to Hawai'i will show us early where we are. Our depth will be a big factor there, because we'll be playing three games in as many days. The field in that tournament will be a good test for us. The rest of our nonconference schedule is very good, with Colorado State, New Mexico, Santa Barbara, Northern Illinois and our tournament."
Pac-10 play opens for the Cats on Jan. 6 and 8 against California and Stanford, respectively, at home. The Wildcats will also wrap up the year against the Bay Area schools, playing at Stanford then California on Mar. 9 and 11.
"This is a good, competitive schedule," said Bonvicini. "We're playing teams which have been successful overall and in the NCAA tournament. We'll be well-prepared when it comes time for conference play and, hopefully, NCAAs."