WCC women’s hoops schedule announced

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The West Coast Conference women’s basketball conference schedule will get an early start this season, as the 2011-12 WCC slate was announced Tuesday. As a result of the WCC’s expansion to nine schools, the conference basketball season will begin prior to New Year’s Day for the first time and feature 16 conference games for each team.

West Coast Conference play should prove to be a challenge this season, after four of the nine WCC teams earned postseason berths in 2010-11. Last season, Gonzaga capped its memorable campaign by becoming the first WCC team to appear in the Elite Eight in the NCAA Basketball Championships. BYU, Pepperdine and Saint Mary’s each made Women’s National Invitational Tournament appearances, with the Cougars advancing to the Sweet 16 of the postseason WNIT.

The 2011-12 West Coast Conference women’s basketball schedule gets underway on Dec. 29, with three games on the docket. Portland hosts northwest rival Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s travels to Loyola Marymount, and Pepperdine heads north to face San Francisco.

Two days later, newcomer BYU will make its WCC debut with its conference opener at Saint Mary’s. The Cougars return seven players from a squad that went 25-9 last season, and in its first ever West Coast Conference test, BYU takes on a Gaels squad that went 10-4 in the WCC last season. That same day, San Francisco visits Loyola Marymount and Pepperdinetravels to Santa Clara. The Waves made their second consecutive WNIT appearance last year and finished fourth in the NCAA with 12.8 steals per game.

WCC defending champion Gonzaga will travel to Malibu to face 2011 WNIT participant Pepperdine on Jan. 5, 2012. That same night, LMU will travel to Provo  to face BYU in the Cougars’ first home contest as a member of the WCC.

San Diego becomes the final West Coast Conference team to open WCC play, when the Toreros head to Northern California to face Saint Mary’s on Jan. 7, 2012. The Toreros are looking to build on last year’s postseason success when they defeated LMU and upset no. 3 seed Pepperdine in the 2011 Zappos.com West Coast Conference Basketball Championships in Las Vegas.

The 2012 Zappos.com WCC Basketball Championships will take place from February 29 to March 5 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, with the championship game televised nationally on ESPNU.

The complete 2011-12 West Coast Conference women’s basketball schedule follows, but is subject to change. For the most up-to-date schedule, visit WCCsports.com.

2012 BYU Women’s Basketball WCC Schedule

Day                   Date                  Opponent                                               Time

Sat.                   Dec. 31              @ St. Mary’s                                          TBA

Mon.                 Jan.2                 @ Portland                                             TBA

Thurs.               Jan. 5                v. LMU                                                 7 p.m.

Sat.                   Jan. 7                @ San Francisco                                     TBA

Thurs.               Jan. 12              v. Pepperdine                                          7 p.m.

Sat.                   Jan. 14              @ San Diego                                          TBA

Thurs.               Jan. 19              @ LMU                                                 TBA

Sat.                   Jan. 21              vs. Portland                                            TBA

Wed                  Jan. 25              v. Seattle Univ. (nonconference game)         7 p.m.

Sat.                   Jan. 28              @ Santa Clara                                         TBA

Thurs.               Feb. 2               @ Pepperdine                                          TBA

Sat.                   Feb. 4               v. St. Mary’s                                          TBA

Thurs.               Feb. 9               v. Gonzaga                                             7 p.m.

Thurs.               Feb. 16              v. San Francisco                                      7 p.m.

Sat.                   Feb. 18              v. San Diego                                          TBA

Thurs.               Feb. 23              v. Santa Clara                                         7 p.m.

Sat.                   Feb. 25              @ Gonzaga                                             TBA

Wed. –Mon.       Feb. 29-Mar.5     @ WCC Championships                          TBA

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