CHARLESTON, SC September 23, 2013 – With official practices starting next Monday, the College of Charleston Women’s Basketball team released their 2013-14 schedule, as announced by head coach Natasha Adair on Monday.
The Cougars, set to commence their inaugural season in the Colonial Athletic Association, face a highly-competitive slate of games, featuring eight teams who competed in post season play last year, including two NCAA Tournament sweet sixteen teams (Maryland, Delaware) as well as a second-round competitors, South Florida.
“I’m very excited about our 2013-14 schedule,” said Adair. “We want to play an aggressive schedule that will prepare us for the NCAA tournament. Our schedule is made up of teams with top 50 RPI’s and it lets our fans and the community know that Charleston is here and that we want to compete against the best.”
To offset a travel-heavy conference schedule, the Cougars begin year two under Adair with a non-conference lineup that is loaded with regional competition. After getting under way at home on Nov. 3 with an exhibition contest against NCAA Division II Lander University, CofC opens the regular season in Charleston – under the bright lights of TD Arena against the Owls of Kennesaw State.
The Cougars then venture away from the friendly confines of TD Arena, taking to the road for a four-game swing, beginning with Winthrop on Nov. 10. The College then heads to Columbia, S.C. for a Nov. 14 showdown against the Gamecocks of South Carolina, before matchups with South Carolina Upstate on Nov. 17 and UNC Greensboro on Nov. 23.
After seven days off, the Cougars then face two games in three days when South Carolina State and George Mason come to LowCountry for consecutive contests on Nov. 30 and Dec. 2.
An away clash against Richmond University on Dec. 14 and a neutral site matchup against Coastal Carolina at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center on Dec. 18 preface a tantalizing Dec. 21 matchup against Coach Adair’s alma mater, the University of South Florida – a team coming off a 22-11 season and an appearance in the second-round of the NCAA Tournament. The noon tip-off will also be part of a double header with the men’s team who take on Kent State later in the day.
Three days after Christmas, the Cougars are back in action at the Terrapin Classic, a tournament hosted by 2012 ACC Champions, Maryland University. The tournament field is comprised of the hosts’ as well as CofC, Wofford and Howard and could see the Cougars face off against the Terps, in College Park on Dec. 29.
In their final tune-up before conference play, the Cougars take on East Carolina at home. The Pirates of ECU finished last season with an overall record of 22-10.
“We’re traveling a lot and expanding our base this year, but to be able to play closer to home and be able to have our friends come out and support us in the preseason – that was a strategic decision on our part.”
The Cougars open CAA play on Jan. 9, with an away tilt against 2012 NIT Champions, Drexel, in Philadelphia. After trading home and away games with their new conference foes – including Delaware, a NCAA Tournament sweet sixteen team last year – the Cougars close out conference play with a home matchup against UNC Wilmington on Mar. 5.
“The CAA will be a battle every night,” said Adair. “There are four teams that went to the post season last year and two who won 20 plus games. It’s a blank canvas for our program as we journey to new cities, face new opponents and establish new rivalries. We welcome the opportunity and we will enjoy creating our own masterpiece.”
Last season (the first under Adair) the Cougars won 16 games (the third most in 23 years), made it to the quarterfinals of the Women’s Basketball Invitational and set 20 school records. They will be led this season by senior sharp-shooter Alyssa Frye and senior floor-leader Jill Brown. Frye set a Southern Conference record with 95 three-pointers last season – good enough for 15th in the country – while Brown ranked 13th in the NCAA in assists per game. The Cougars are also bolstered by a strong recruiting class who should provide some depth for a team looking to build on last season’s momentum and continue its ascent in to the upper echelon of women’s basketball programs.