The Lady Lions are ready to make another run toward the NCAA, but they'll have to contend first with a schedule including two teams that had impressive seasons last year, one of them perennial national championship contender North Carolina.
The Tar Heels will visit Happy Valley the Wednesday after Thanksgiving, part of the 2011 ACC/Big Ten challenge. The following weekend (hopefully the same weekend Penn State football is playing for the Big Ten title in Indy) in Lubbock, the Lady Lions face off with 2011 tourney team Texas Tech. Last season, Penn State beat Texas Tech in the BJC, and was one of the keys to sparking the Lady Lions up into the rankings. The Red Raiders started off the season 16-1, with that one loss coming courtesy of PSU.
The rest of the schedule isn't exactly murderers' row, but it's not terrible. Coquese Washington had the typical coach-speak comment on this year's slate:
"Our non-conference schedule will definitely challenge us," head coach Coquese Washington said. "We are playing some of the nation's top teams and playing tough competition on the road. It will certainly prepare us for the rigors of Big Ten Conference play, as well as the NCAA Tournament."
In the next few weeks, we are going to start our winter sports coverage with some "State of the Program" posts, which you'll really enjoy. One of those, written by this humble blogger, will be on the Lady Lions. It should be a very fun year to be a Lady Lions fan. If you haven't been one lately, now might be the time to hop back onto the bandwagon, 'cause it's filling up fast.
|2011-12 Lady Lions Non-Conference Schedule|
|Sat.||Nov.||5||BLOOMSBURG (PA.) (exhibition)||University Park, Pa.|
|Lady Lion Classic|
|Fri.||Nov.||11||WASHINGTON STATE||University Park, Pa.|
|Sun.||Nov.||13||MIDDLE TENN. ST./UNC-WILMINGTON||University Park, Pa.|
|Thurs.||Nov.||17||at Delaware||Newark, Del.|
|Sun.||Nov.||20||at South Carolina||Columbia, S.C.|
|John Ascuaga's Nugget Classic|
|Fri.||Nov.||25||vs. Iowa State/Butler/Nevada||Reno, Nev.|
|Sat.||Nov.||26||vs. Iowa State/Butler/Nevada||Reno, Nev.|
|Big Ten/ACC Challenge|
|Wed.||Nov.||30||NORTH CAROLINA||University Park, Pa.|
|Big 12/Big Ten Challenge|
|Sat.||Dec.||3||at Texas Tech||Lubbock, Texas|
|Tues.||Dec.||6||VIRGINIA TECH||University Park, Pa.|
|Sun.||Dec.||11||MARYLAND-EASTERN SHORE||University Park, Pa.|
|Sun.||Dec.||18||WAGNER||University Park, Pa.|
|Wed.||Dec.||21||at Bucknell||Lewisburg, Pa.|
Flickr Photo, Creative Commons: Nate Ballantine