Women’s Basketball Unveils 2011-12 Schedule
MACON, Ga. – Matchups with Auburn, Notre Dame, Wake Forest and Georgia bolster a daunting slate of games announced by Mercer women’s basketball head coach Susie Gardner on Wednesday. In all, the Bears’ 2011-12 campaign features 11 non-conference contests in supplement to 20 Atlantic Sun Conference tilts.
“I like our schedule,” Mercer head coach Susie Gardner said. “It features an exceptional home slate and also very challenging road trips.”
Of Mercer’s 20 regular season opponents, five (Notre Dame, Georgia, Central Florida, Florida Gulf Coast and East Tennessee State) finished the 2010-11 season ranked among the nation’s top-100 teams according to RealTimeRPI.com. Four opponents (Notre Dame, UCF, Georgia and Stetson) made appearances in the 2011 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament.
After its lone preseason exhibition game – a meeting with Georgia College in the University Center on Nov. 3 – Mercer gears up for its first regular season opener at home since 2007.
Mercer’s season tip-off against Auburn marks the second-straight year the Bears face the Tigers in game one. This year’s edition of the marquee matchup is scheduled for Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. and marks the annual homecoming event.
After hosting the Tigers, Mercer hits the road for a clash with Davidson on Nov. 14 before returning to Macon for a meeting with Georgia Southern on Nov. 17. Following the Georgia Southern game, Mercer travels south to Orlando for a clash with UCF on Nov. 20.
The game at UCF kicks off a five-game road stretch that sees the team tackle Wake Forest (Nov. 23), High Point (Nov. 25), Lipscomb (Dec. 1) and Belmont (Dec. 3). The trip to Nashville for games against Lipscomb and Belmont signify the start of Mercer’s 20-game conference schedule.
Georgia invades the University Center on Dec. 6, marking the Bulldogs’ first trip to Macon since February 1, 1993. That game is followed by a home event against Troy (Dec. 18) before a road trip to UNC Ashville on Dec. 21.
Winthrop is scheduled for a University Center showing on Dec. 28 before Mercer closes out the calendar year hosting Notre Dame on Dec. 30.
The Fighting Irish are Mercer’s final non-conference opponent of the season, as January ushers-in the start of a 16-game streak of A-Sun foes. The league’s round-robin format in basketball guarantees Mercer fans a look at each of the conference opponents.
“Once again the A-Sun will be a very competitive league,” Gardner said. “There is going to be a lot of curiosity on the part of other teams wondering how we will do and how early we will be competitive. I’ve liked what we’ve done in the weight room this summer and our individual workouts are going great.”
For the third-straight year, Mercer hosts the Atlantic Sun championship in the University Center. This year’s event is scheduled for Feb. 29-March 3, 2012.