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Arizona women’s basketball schedules home-and-home with Texas

Photo by Ryan Kelapire

The Arizona Wildcats women’s basketball team has scheduled a home-and-home series with the Texas Longhorns, according to a source.

Arizona will play in Austin on Nov. 17, 2019. Texas will make the return trip to Tucson in the 2020-21 season.

Texas went 23-10 last season, losing to Indiana in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

This series signifies a major scheduling shift for the Wildcats, who have only faced two Power 5 teams in non-conference play in Adia Barnes’ first three seasons at the helm.

“As we get better, the non-conference will get better,” the UA coach said last month. “But it’s still not going to ever be seven Power-5 schools in non-conference. It’s just not until we’re like a top-5 team in the country, then it’ll be very different. But right now our Pac-12 (schedule) is so good. So I think having a couple strong non-conference games is good.”

The Wildcats did not have a single Power 5 opponent on their non-conference schedule last season, raising some concerns that they would not be adequately tested heading into conference play.

However, Arizona finished 24-13 overall and 7-11 in the Pac-12, its highest win totals in both regards since 2011. The Wildcats also won the WNIT.

“What I’m seeing is as we’re getting better, games are much harder to find, so then you have to buy more games,” Barnes said. “Before, you really wanted to play us because you had a chance of beating a Pac-12 team. And I think for us now that as we get better, I think it will just get more challenging. You have to be more strategic. But these are good problems.”

The Wildcats are returning their entire starting five next season and expect to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005.