Arizona women’s basketball released its nonconference schedule in mid-August. Now, the basic shape of the conference season is known, as well.
The Pac-12 released this season’s weekend pairings for women’s basketball on Thursday. It included some breaks from the past.
The conference will no longer have teams play their rivals twice in one weekend. In the past, several teams in the league had back-to-back rivalry games while the rest had those games split up during the conference season. Going forward, the first of the two games will be played on a December date agreed upon by the two schools. The second will come during the regular conference season that begins the weekend of Dec. 29.
The past wasn’t thrown out in its entirety, though. The league had approved a move to a 20-game conference season that would match that played by the men. That idea was voted on again and rejected. The women will retain an 18-game schedule meaning that each team will only have a true home-and-away series with seven of its 11 conference foes.
For Arizona, the decision to keep an 18-game conference season means that the Wildcats will only play UCLA, USC, Washington, and Washington State once this season. The Bruins and Women of Troy will not come to Tucson this year. Arizona will not go to Seattle or Pullman.
Pac-12 play will tip off for Arizona with a home game against ASU sometime in early or mid-December. Currently, the Wildcats have games on Dec. 4 at New Mexico, Dec. 8 against Kansas, Dec. 14 against Texas Southern, Dec. 18 against Baylor in Dallas, Tex., and Dec. 21 at UT Arlington. The Sun Devils have not released their nonconference schedule yet.
The traditional Pac-12 season will start the weekend of Dec. 29 when Arizona travels to the Bay Area to face Stanford and California. In a tough stretch of games, the Wildcats will then return to Tucson to play Oregon and Oregon State. The weekend beginning on Jan. 13 will include a matchup against Utah, which made it to last year’s Pac-12 championship game, and Colorado, which eliminated the Wildcats from the Pac-12 Tournament. That stretch winds up with Arizona’s second rivalry game on the road against ASU.
The Wildcats will begin the second half of the conference season the weekend of Jan. 27 with their only games against Washington and Washington State. The two games will be played in Tucson before Arizona takes the road trip to Los Angeles to face UCLA and USC for their only matchups this year.
Home games against Stanford, Cal, Colorado, and Utah lead into the season finale at Oregon and Oregon State the weekend of Feb. 23.
The Pac-12 Tournament follows the next week with the first round on Mar. 1. The championship game will be held on Mar. 5.