Women face tough schedule in first year without McKeown

Before the first jump ball of the season, those worried that the strength of the GW’s women’s basketball team’s out-of-conference opponents would depart with former coach Joe McKeown can breathe easy. At least for this year.

When new head coach Mike Bozeman takes the reins, he will also be inheriting his predecessor’s familiar gauntlet of first-half opponents, including two-time defending national champion University of Tennessee and recent nemesis Rutgers University.

The Dec. 2 match-up with Tennessee serves as the centerpiece of the home schedule as the Colonials look for their first-ever win over the Lady Volunteers in what will be their ninth meeting.

The highlight of the road portion of the schedule is a Dec. 29 date at Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights trounced GW 67-42 in Foggy Bottom last fall before ending the Colonials’ season with a 53-42 win in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

The team probably has better memories of Auburn, their Dec. 19 home opponent who they beat in Alabama with a last-second three-pointer this past January and knocked out of the NCAA tournament’s first round in March. The Colonials’ final out-of-conference home game will come Jan. 21 against Villanova.

Other home games include season-opening November dates with Coppin State and UMBC, as well as December contests against Princeton University and Loyola Maryland. The Colonials will also host Hartford, Liberty and South Alabama in the traditional GW Thanksgiving Classic tournament.

The team will travel to Kentucky in late November for rematches with Western Kentucky and the University of Kentucky on Nov. 21 and 23, respectively. GW beat both teams at home last season, as well as Texas A&M, who they will meet Jan. 3. The Colonials will then stay in the Lone Star State for a Jan. 5 meeting with Rice.

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