Last year, both the head coaches of Arizona and Louisville took to social media trying to find non-conference games. At the time, UA head coach Adia Barnes said it didn’t make sense for her team to travel east during the pandemic to make a game between the two programs work. Next season, fans of women’s college basketball will finally get to see that matchup.
The Cardinals and Wildcats will play a neutral site game at The Invitational at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Nov. 12. That contest will be part of a double-header with South Carolina and South Dakota that will be featured on the ESPN Networks.
After several years of underwhelming out-of-conference slates as she rebuilt the program, Barnes began trying to upgrade the schedule last season. Then, the pandemic hit, and that came to a halt. Next season, the Wildcats should finally have the opportunity to play several top programs before heading into the always-tough Pac-12.
In addition to facing Louisville in Sioux Falls, Arizona is also headed to the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands from Nov. 25-27. Other teams featured at the Paradise Jam are Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, DePaul, Northwestern, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, and South Dakota.
The trip to South Dakota also gives sophomore Lauren Ware an opportunity to play near home. The Bismarck native will play about six hours from her hometown.
Louisville went 26-4 last season, including a trip to the Elite Eight.