As Arizona has ascended the women’s college basketball ladder, going from an afterthought to a surprise national title game participant and now a perennial NCAA Tournament entrant, finding schools willing to play the Wildcats in nonconference play has been a challenge.
Maybe that will change when the UA moves to the Big 12 Conference in a year, but it’s been a struggle during the tail end of its Pac-12 membership. However, the pre-conference slate put together for its final Pac-12 season looks pretty solid.
Arizona will play 12 nonconference games ahead of league play, along with two exhibitions, with eight of those contests at McKale Center. There are two road games, including the regular-season opener Nov. 6 at New Mexico State, and four at neutral sites.
Following exhibitions at home against West Texas A&M and Point Loma Nazarene, the Wildcats will visit Las Cruces for the first time since 2016. The UA is 17-11 all-time against NMSU.
The regular-season home opener is set for Nov. 10 against NAU, the first of three straight home games over a 5-day span, all against teams Arizona beat a year ago. It will then host Loyola Marymount and San Diego before playing its next four away from home.
The Wildcats open the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas on Nov. 18 against Memphis, with two more games in that 8-team event. A road game at UNLV, where the UA last played in 2012, is on tap for Dec. 2.
The last four nonconference games are all in the state of Arizona, three at McKale and one in Phoenix. The UA hosts UC-San Diego on Dec. 7 and then Texas on Dec. 13, marking the Longhorns’ first visit to Tucson since 1993.
Arizona will face Gonzaga on Dec. 20 at Footprint Center in Phoenix, home of the Suns and Mercury, as part of the Jerry Colangelo Hall of Fame Series. Also on tap that night is the UA men against Alabama.
The non-league slate wraps up on New Year’s Even with Seattle coming to McKale Center.